Two drug dealers brutally murdered a man in his own home as they robbed him of a cannabis grow.
Jack Brown, 26, and Conor O'Casey, 23, will both have to serve a minimum of 27 years in jail as they received life sentences for the murder of father-of-four Leroy Hanley.
They had cycled to his home in Rusholme and planned to steal a cannabis grow, which they believed was worth £7,000.
After getting into his house, the pair launched a 'vicious' attack which would prove fatal, Manchester Crown Court heard.
Mr Hanley's devastated family told how they were not able to have an open casket funeral, due to the terrible injuries he suffered in the attack.
After being found guilty of murder and robbery, Brown and O'Casey were both told they must serve a minimum of 27 years in jail before they can be considered for release.
Planning to steal the cannabis, the pair arrived at Mr Hanley's home on Carnforth Street, just before midnight on July 13.
The judge said their motivation was 'pure greed'.
They brought a hammer with them, and Judge Alan Conrad QC said a confrontation with 59-year-old Mr Hanley was 'inevitable'.
O'Casey 'throttled' Mr Hanley with a choke hold, while Brown repeatedly hit him with a hammer, striking at least 13 blows.
The pressure to his neck caused internal damage, while one hammer blow to Mr Hanley's face smashed his cheek bone.
After the attack, the pair left with the cannabis.
"Your only thoughts were for yourselves and to save your own skins," Judge Conrad said.
Some of Mr Hanley's neighbours heard loud noises coming from his home and went to check on him.
They found Mr Hanley in a 'weird position' on a sofa.
He was pronounced dead at 1.51am.
At the court hearing, members of Mr Hanley's family told of the trauma they have experienced.
Describing him as a 'kind and loving father' who often ran errands for elderly neighbours, they told of being left traumatised at seeing the injuries their relative had suffered.
His cousin, Hartley Hanley, told the court: "We find it difficult, incredibly difficult indeed, to put into words how it felt when we went to view Leroy's body.
"He didn't look like the Leroy we once knew and loved.
"He didn't look like he was asleep, at rest or at peace.
"His brutal injuries haunt us to this day."
He added: "Jack Brown and Conor O'Casey will eventually be free from prison. They will visit friends, and perhaps even have children of their own.
"But our Leroy will never see his youngest daughter grow up."
Mr Hanley's sister Shelley said he had brought her up.
She said: "It has been hard for me, because he was my mum, he was my dad, and he was everything to me."
The two defendants 'surrendered themselves' at Longsight police station a week after the attack.
The judge said that the pair had been 'making a living' from drug dealing for 'some time'.
Defending, Alisdair Williamson QC said Brown has shown 'genuine remorse' and expressed 'shock' after hearing of Mr Hanley's death.
He said Brown had a difficult childhood and became involved in a gang as a teenager.
Mr Williamson said Brown had 'extricated' himself from the gang, but became homeless and the temptation of 'easy money' became 'too much for him'.
Benjamin Myers QC, for O'Casey, who had no previous convictions, said 'nothing in his background' could have predicted what he went on to do.
The barrister described him as 'immature' and said he had 'no track record of violence'.
After the hearing, Senior Investigating Officer Duncan Thorpe of GMP's Serious Crime Division said: "A man lost his life through the unprovoked, violent and callous actions of both O'Casey and Brown. I hope today's sentence provides his family with a sense of justice.
"I am glad we have been able to remove these dangerous individuals from the streets of Greater Manchester. Sadly, no sentence will bring back Leroy and our thoughts are firmly with his family who continue to grieve the loss of a loved one."
Bardsley, Andrew. “Drug Dealers Murdered Manchester Dad-of-Four in Horrific Hammer Attack.” Manchester Evening News, 11 Feb. 2021, www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/leroy-hanley-rusholme-murder-court-19810634.
(Image: STEVE ALLEN
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