Two youths have been convicted of killing a “vulnerable” man who was attacked and pushed into a canal.

The body of Scott Anderton, 33, from Leigh, was found floating in the Leeds and Liverpool canal in his home town on the morning of March 25.

Liam Bailey, 18, of Leigh, had pleaded guilty to the murder of Mr Anderton but a 16-year-old boy and a 17-year-old boy, who both cannot be named for legal reasons, denied the offence and went on trial.

On Monday a jury at Manchester Crown Court found the 16-year-old guilty of murder, while the 17-year-old was cleared of murder but convicted of manslaughter.

All three defendants were cleared of robbing Mr Anderton.

A post-mortem examination showed Mr Anderton suffered 35 separate sharp force injuries including chop and stab wounds that covered his body from the top of his head down to his shins.

The nature of some of the wounds indicated Mr Anderton tried to protect himself by raising his hands, arms and legs, and, in the opinion of a pathologist, were “equally consistent with blows being delivered to prevent him getting out of the canal”.

The cause of death given was multiple sharp force injuries with blunt force trauma to the head and terminal drowning.

Michael Brady QC, prosecuting, said Mr Anderton had the “tragic misfortune” to run into the defendants shortly after he was seen on CCTV walking through Leigh town centre at about 4am with a plastic carrier bag, wearing a bobble hat and only one shoe.

CCTV footage went on to show the murder victim and the defendants at the entrance to the canal on King Street, said the Crown, and that at 4.30am ripples on the surface of the water indicated when Mr Anderton entered the canal after the ferocious attack.

Bailey, of Diamond Street, was also found guilty of attempting to rob a young man in the hours before Mr Anderton’s murder.

He had also pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to inflicting grievous bodily harm on a 40-year-man who suffered life-changing injuries from a late night attack near Leigh town centre on September 1 last year.

Mr Brady said the victim, similarly to Mr Anderton, was targeted because he was “vulnerable and alone”.

The 17-year-old defendant was found guilty of inflicting grievous bodily harm in relation to the September 1 incident.

Sentencing will take place on November 12.

A teenager and a man from Leigh have been convicted of murder following the fatal stabbing of a father in Leigh in March this year.

Following a trial at Manchester Crown Court and after previously pleading guilty to murder and section 18 assault, a jury today (11 October) found Liam Bailey (25/10/2002), of Diamond Street, Leigh, guilty of one count of robbery and not guilty of an additional count of robbery and attempted robbery. 

A 17-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was found guilty of inflicting bodily harm and manslaughter but not guilty of section 18 assault, robbery and murder. 

A 16-year-old boy, who also cannot be named, was found guilty of murder and not guilty of robbery and attempted robbery.

The court heard how in the early hours of Thursday 25 March 2021, all three males had lured 33-year-old Scott Anderton from Leigh town centre to a stretch of canal nearby.

It was here that Mr Anderton was subjected to a violent assault, resulting in him sustaining 37 stab wounds to his body and blunt trauma injuries to his head before being pushed into the canal and left to die.

He was sadly pronounced dead at the scene after police were after a woman discovered a body floating in the canal at around 7am.

All three males are expected to be sentenced on Friday 12 November.

Following the verdicts, DCI Liz Hopkinson of the Greater Manchester Police major incident team, said: "I am pleased that a jury have been able to reach a verdict following these horrendous crimes and I commend Scott's family for their courage and strength throughout what has been a lengthy and painful trial.

"This was a horrific and violent assault and we have been committed throughout this investigation to ensuring those responsible were held accountable for their heinous actions.

"These males now await what I suspect to be a lengthy custodial sentence and although sadly we are unable to reunite Scott with his loved ones, I hope today they feel a sense of justice being served."

Speaking at the time of his death, Scott's family described him as "the most caring, loving, kindest person you could meet".

"He made time for anyone he met and would always be there if anyone needed help.   Even on the darkest of days Scott was always positive and had the cheekiest smile which was infectious.

"Scott was our kid!

"Our family have been robbed of a son, dad, grandson, brother, nephew and uncle.   There is an emptiness which can never be filled and our family will never come to terms with their loss.

"The only comfort we can find in all this madness is knowing he will finally be at peace with his precious baby girl back in his arms.

"You are truly loved Scott".  We promise you will never be forgotten and your memory will live on so it's not goodbye forever our kid but just goodbye for now.

"You will forever be our diamond in the mud."