A MAN who beat his “best friend” to death will serve at least 20 years in prison.

David Hesketh, 48, punched, kicked and stamped on John Baxendale after finding him in bed with a woman, on September 14, last year.

A post mortem revealed Mr Baxendale had suffered 70 injuries, including a fractured skull and ribs and bleeding on the brain.

After Mr Baxendale, Hesketh turned his attention to the 40-year-old woman, causing her "horrifying injuries", before leaving Mr Baxendale's flat in Aldersyde Street, Great Lever, where the crime took place.

Last month, Hesketh was found guilty of murder, intentionally causing grievous bodily harm and battery at Minshull Street Crown.

At Hesketh's sentencing hearing on Thursday morning, a number of victim impact statements were read out by prosecution barrister Rob Hall.

Mr Baxendale's sister Yvonne spoke of the devastating impact the death had on her and her family, describing herself as "emotionally broken" and "haunted" by the incident.

Victoria Lomax, a friend of Mr Baxendale described him as a "wonderful man" who will be "greatly missed".

Defence barrister John McDermott spoke of Hesketh's troubled past, including being involved in drinks.

Mr McDermott said: "It has been an unhappy history, which led to this day where he decided, in anger, to kill his best friend.”

Judge Justice Dove described the incident as "a frenzied attack of extreme violence and brutality."

He added: "You quite literally beat the life out of him. He was drunk and defenceless

"It was a savage attack with inevitably fatal consequences.

"Having killed him your violence and cruelty continued and you inflicted horrifying injuries on a woman.

"After inflicting this catalogue of violence you left the scene."

Mr Justice Dove said that the fact Hesketh was drunk was an aggravating factor in the case, allowing mitigation as he believed it was not pre-meditated and occurred in the spur of the moment.

He sentenced Hesketh to life imprisonment, with a minimum sentence of 20 years for the murder.

A concurrent sentence of 12 years was passed for intentionally inflicting grievous bodily harm.

Mr Baxendale's family, who affectionately referred to him as Jonny, paid tribute to him.

They said: “We miss him every minute of every day. He had so much life ahead of him and was a wonderful selfless person who had just started to turn his life around.

“We are struggling to come to terms with our loss following the needless act of violence that took him from us last September.

“The man who took Jonny from us has now been sentenced for the cowardly act.

“Though this cannot bring Jonny back it does help us to start to come to terms with what has happened knowing his killer is behind bars.

“We will now treasure the memories we have of Jonny and try to move on.”