A TOTAL of three teenagers who were found and arrested in Rhyl are among seven to have been sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of a man in the West Midlands.

After a 10-week trial at Nottingham Crown Court, seven defendants were found guilty on March 21 of murdering Bailey Atkinson, 20, in Walsall on January 28, 2023.

The boys, all 17 years old, cannot be identified due to their age, but were arrested at Premier Inn, West Parade, Rhyl on the evening of January 31, 2023, before being charged with murder later that week.

Rhyl Journal: Premier Inn, RhylPremier Inn, Rhyl (Image: Newsquest)

At Nottingham Crown Court today (May 24), they were each handed life sentences, with minimum terms of imprisonment of 19 years.


Teenagers arrested in Rhyl in connection with murder of man in Walsall

Teenagers arrested at Rhyl hotel found guilty of ‘ferocious’ murder

During today’s sentencing, the court heard that the teenagers who fled to Rhyl did so because one of them had family ties to the town – he had been “threatened”, so was “in hiding for his safety, not to evade apprehension from police”.

On the night of the attack, the seven defendants were in two stolen cars; a Toyota Verso and a Seat Leon - both had been stolen in previous days.

They had met up on a supermarket car park shortly before they drove into the town centre looking for Mr Atkinson.

They cornered Mr Atkinson and drove at him; he managed to escape, but the cars circled and caught up with him further along High Street.

Six of the occupants then got out and attacked him with machetes and zombie knives.

His attackers then got back in the cars, leaving him on the floor; one stopped to try to take a photo of Mr Atkinson on his mobile phone as he lay bleeding on the floor.

All occupants of the cars made off to Slater Street in Wolverhampton, where the vehicles were found burnt out just minutes after the killing.

Rhyl Journal: Clockwise from top left: co-defendants Wilkes, Brookes, Loverage, and McCullochClockwise from top left: co-defendants Wilkes, Brookes, Loverage, and McCulloch (Image: West Midlands Police)

Of the three teenagers who fled to Rhyl, one used a “substantial weapon” in the attack, having appeared to strike Mr Atkinson roughly 10 times, more than any other defendant.

Another stabbed and struck Mr Atkinson at least five times, while the third was seen waving a machete.

Cannabis and nitrous oxide had been consumed by the defendants before the attack on Mr Atkinson, who was pronounced dead in hospital a short time later.

A witness to the attack described it as being “like lions on a prey”.

Sentencing, Mr Justice Goss condemned the “vicious group attack” on Mr Atkinson, who “did nothing at the scene by way of provocation or offensive action”.

He added that the weapons involved in the attack were used in a “ferocious” and “merciless” manner.

Mr Justice Goss issued the following life sentences to the other four defendants:

  • Benjamin Wilkes, 18, of Guild Avenue, Bloxwich - minimum term of 18 years’ imprisonment.
  • Patrick Brookes, 18, of Hunter Crescent, Walsall – minimum term of 20 years’ imprisonment.
  • Sonny Loveridge, 20, of Irvine Road, Bloxwich – minimum term of 23 years’ imprisonment.
  • Ronan McCulloch, 19, of Livingstone Road, Bloxwich - minimum term of 20 years’ imprisonment.