A "VICIOUS" thug who murdered a disabled man in a dark alleyway as part of a gang attack has been jailed for life.
Shae Nicholson (21) will spend at least 15 years behind bars for killing Jerry Appicella in an attack near the Go Local shop on Hickleton Street, Denaby, in December 2019.
He was sentenced at Sheffield Crown Court today (Friday) alongside Martell Brown (25), of Colliery Road, Conisbrough, and a 16-year-old boy, who were both convicted of manslaughter at a trial.
Nicholson, of Lincoln Close, Denaby, had taunted Mr Appicella in the Go Local store in the hours before the murder, calling him a "faggott".
Judge Martin Spencer, addressing Nicholson, said: "You could not tolerate being challenged by anyone and when, in the argument, Jerry Appicella was giving as good as he got, you increasingly lost your temper.
"You invited him out again and again, clearly for the purpose of turning the altercation physical and when he did not leave, in your frustration, you threw a beer can as hard as you could at his head, missing and smashing some bottles in the display behind him.
"A measure of your arrogance is that you felt you could behave that way in a public place and get away with it."
Judge Spencer said that after leaving the shop, Nicholson had tried to throw a brick at Mr Appicella, which missed, and then launched a "vicious, cowardly and premeditated" attack on him.
Nicholson was seen on CCTV pulling Mr Appicella to the ground, kicking him, punching him and stamping on his face.
Judge Spencer said Nicholson had returned to the alleyway to attack Mr Appicella twice more as he lay defenceless on the ground.
He said that Brown, who was jailed for six years, and the youth, who was detained for 30 months, had joined in the attack opportunistically.
Judge Spencer said the youth, who was 14 at the time of the offence, had struck Mr Appicella at least twice with a metal pole and Brown had punched or kicked him but their contribution had been "minor and fleeting" compared to that of Nicholson.
Mr Appicella lost consciousness and when he came round he had to be escorted home by a woman who had been trying to help him.
Nicholson returned to Go Local later that evening and was caught on CCTV telling a shop assistant he had stamped on Mr Appicella's head about 30 times and had "kicked the f*** out of him whilst he was on the floor".
Nicholson told the shopkeeper: "He got his f***ing head kicked in, the f***ing faggot.'"
Mr Appicella's body was found in his flat 12 days after the attack.
Senior Investigating Officer, Det Ch Insp Simon Palmer, said: “This was a horrific attack on a man who was a familiar face in his community.
"Whilst Mr Appicella lived a mainly solitary life, he tragically came into the orbit of these men that evening, who attacked him because they wanted to, and because they could.
“Our investigation revealed that they ambushed Mr Appicella, with Nicholson lying in wait and the rest of the group stalking Mr Appicella until he was alone and out of sight.
"Having suffered severe head injuries, Mr Appicella, with the help of a member of the public, managed to get home, assuring her that he would be ok.
“Locking his door behind him, Mr Appicella succumbed to the injuries inflicted by these shameless thugs.”
All of the defendants had at the trial accepted they were present but had denied causing the serious injuries that Mr Appicella suffered.
Nicholson had admitted manslaughter but denied murder, while the other defendants had both denied murder.
Judge Spencer rejected an application by the Rotherham Advertiser, which was supported by other media organisations, to identify the 16-year-old defendant.