TWO men have been jailed for at least 26 years for a brutal attack that left a friend dead.

Adrian Beevers, 42, and Gary Evans, 43, from Worsbrough, Barnsley, were found guilty of killing John Dawson, 57, following an eight-day trial at Sheffield Crown Court.

Beevers, guilty of murder, was today sentenced to life imprisonment, with a minimum term of 16 years, while Evans was given a ten-year jail term for manslaughter.

Police were called to Mr Dawson’s home at Highstone Avenue, Worsbrough Common, on Monday, 21 February, this year, after his body had been found by a friend. Mr Dawson had been beaten to death.

Detective Superintendent James Abdy, the senior investigating officer in the case, said: "John Dawson was a vulnerable man, who invited Adrian Beevers and Gary Evans into his home because he trusted them and believed them to be his friends.

“This was a sustained and exceptionally violent attack, on a man who was in no position to defend himself.

“After considering the evidence, a jury found Adrian Beevers to be guilty of murder and Gary Evans to be guilty of manslaughter.

“We offer our deepest condolences to John’s family and will continue to offer support to them wherever we can. They have had to endure the tragic death of a loved one, the impact of a major criminal investigation and then the stress of the trial. Throughout this time they have acted with nothing but patience and dignity.”

Speaking on behalf of the victim’s family, daughters Claire Dawson, 37, and Amanda Sheard, 38, of Barnsley, said: “It’s so hard to put into words what effect the murder of my dad, John Dawson, has had on us and our family.

“Beevers’ and Evans’ convictions don’t bring our dad back, but it does give us some comfort that people will know them for what they really are – killers. Adi Beevers is a vicious, violent man who showed no mercy.

“Our dad was their friend. He gave them a roof over their heads at different times – shared a home with them – and this is how they repay him. We hope, whilst they are in prison, they reflect on that and feel ashamed. They have robbed us of a son, dad and granddad.

“Yes, he fought an addiction, but he was harmless. In fact, his actions in helping his so-called friends, besides being a caring and devoted son, show he was kind natured.

“He didn’t deserve to die in this way and his murder has turned all our lives upside down.

“We want to say thank you and pay tribute especially to the public of Barnsley and Worsbrough Common who provided statements and information. Without them we would never have got justice for dad. We know this wouldn’t have been an easy thing to do and we appreciate their bravery in coming forward and helping. We also want to thank South Yorkshire Police and the Crown Prosecution Service for their support and hard work.”