A SENIOR detective condemned the “brutal” street attack in which a vulnerable man was killed after the gang who beat him to death was found guilty.
Det Chief Insp Simon Palmer said CCTV had proved key in the conviction of Shae Nicholson, Martell Brown and a 15-year-old boy for the death of Jerry Appicella, who was found dead 12 days after the beating in Denaby in 2019.
Nicholson (above left) was convicted of murder yesterday and Brown (above right) and the youth of manslaughter.
The attackers used a metal pole and a brick to attack 51-year-old Mr Appicella during the assault.
During the trial, the court heard how their motive for the attack was simply “because they wanted to”, but that various other factors, such as Mr Appicella’s sexuality, his appearance, or his alcohol dependency, possibly played a part.
Mr Palmer said: “On the evening of the attack, this group of young men had been hanging around the Go Local store in Denaby Main, generally being rowdy, creating a hostile atmosphere for shoppers.
“One of those people was Jerry Appicella; whilst he lived a mainly solitary life, he was a familiar face in the community, visiting the shop daily.
“On that particular evening, Mr Appicella came to the attention of these four men, who taunted and mocked him while he was in the shop.
“The four waited outside the shop and Mr Appicella began to make his way home down a nearby alleyway.
“What he didn’t know, was that the group had come up with a plan to ambush him. CCTV footage clearly shows Nicholson, crouched down, lying in wait and the others stalking him from behind.
“The attack was brutal - Nicholson used a brick to attack him and his 15-year-old attacker landed blows with a metal pole. A woman who had previously offered to walk Mr Appicella home, witnessed the final throes of the attack, and rushed to his side as the group fled the scene.”
Mr Appicella was taken home by the woman and locked his door behind him.
He is believed to have died from his injuries just hours later.
A post mortem concluded his cause of death was severe head trauma, sustained during the attack.
Mr Palmer continued: “Mr Appicella’s family tried to contact him over the following week and then contacted police, concerned for his welfare.
“Officers forced entry to his home on December 15 and a murder investigation was quickly launched.
“Central to the investigation has been detailed examination of CCTV footage, which provided us with a clear timeline of events and captured the attack itself.
“Nicholson was also caught on CCTV bragging about the attack in the Go Local store and using homophobic slurs to describe his victim.”
The two men and 15 year-old boy will be sentenced in May.