Man savagely beaten to death by killer who wrongly thought he was a paedo

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Edward Fitzgerald wrongly thought Raymond Dixon was a paedo

KILLER: Edward Fitzgerald, 50, has been jailed for life after admitting murdering Raymond Dixon (Pic: GMP)

Edward Fitzgerald, 50, burst into Raymond Dixon’s home in Bury, Greater Manchester, and savagely beat him to death by repeatedly kicking and punching him.

Fitzgerald  was told the unfounded rumour about Mr Dixon being a paedophile by Lee Hopkinson, who recruited him and fellow drug addict Anthony Dennison to help him rob Mr Dixon, who was described as a ‘frail’ and ‘vulnerable’ man.

Hopkinson, 30, and Dennison, 45, searched his home on Myrtle Street North for valuables, taking a 40-inch TV, a Playstation and further items in two bags.

The three addicts then left Mr Dixon to die, before arriving at Dean Murray’s home about a mile away and using his washing machine to try and get rid of forensic evidence from their clothes.

Raymond Dixon was murdered in his own home

VICTIM: Mr Dixon had mental health problems and was a long time amphetamine user (Pic: GMP)

Lee Hopkinson recruited Fitzgerald to rob Mr Dixon

LIE: Lee Hopkinson told Fitzgerald the unfounded rumour about Mr Dixon being a paedo (Pic: GMP)

Fitzgerald, recruited for his muscle, gave Mr Dixon a “sustained, vicious and wholly gratuitous beating”, the court heard.

Mr Dixon, who had mental health problems and was a long time amphetamine user, lived alone and had more recently made friends with his next door neighbour.

Mr Dixon’s neighbour raised the alarm after finding his friend face down and covered in blood.

He told the neighbour about Hopkinson, who he said would regularly turn up at his home just before Mr Dixon’s benefits were paid.

Hopkinson would tell him that he had nowhere to go because his girlfriend had thrown him out, and they would share drugs purchased with the benefits.

The court heard Mr Dixon was ‘vulnerable to exploitation’.

Judge Richard Mansell QC said: “It is perfectly clear to me that you (Hopkinson) regarded Raymond Dixon as a soft touch, someone who you could exploit by turning up at his flat around the time he was paid his benefits and consuming drugs purchased with his money.

“However, in your desperation for drugs, you went further and planned to rob him of everything of value in his home.”

He was jailed for life at Manchester Crown Court after admitting murdering Mr Dixon, 50.

Hopkinson, of no fixed address, was sentenced to 13 years after admitting manslaughter.

Dennison, of no fixed address, received a five-year sentence after pleading guilty to robbery, and Murray, 50, of Bury, was jailed for two years after admitting perverting the course of justice.

Fitzgerald, of Bury, was ordered to serve a minimum of 23 years of his life sentence.

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