A TEENAGER who brutally murdered a ‘decent and harmless’ pensioner has been jailed for 19 years.

Cameron Cruddace, from Newton-le-Willows, hit Richard Percival at least 12 times with a hammer in a frenzied attack at his home on Dixon Avenue in August.

Judge Alan Conrad QC said the 71-year-old would have been in 'no position to resist the vicious and sustained armed attack'.

After an application by the press, Judge Conrad lifted a reporting ban on naming the 17-year-old as he appeared in Liverpool Crown Court this morning, Friday.

Nigel Power, prosecuting, said: “We are considering whether this was a murder done for gain or not.

"The defendant told a friend of his that there was cash in the attic - he embellished this in his account at trial.

"Although his accounts in interview were not consistent, he went to the house on two occasions for money.

"When the doctor asked him what charge he faced, he replied that it was a 'robbery gone wrong’."

Cruddace claimed Richard Percival made sexual advances on him, the reasoning behind the attack.

The prosecution said no evidence supported these claims.

Mr Power added: “The allegations only came from Cruddace and only after he had murdered Mr Percival.”

Cruddace said the pensioner 'had no chance of getting away,' the court heard.

Pathology evidence suggests he would have been knocked unconscious almost immediately and his suffering would not have been prolonged.

However, the blow would have been one that caused 'immense pain’, the court was told.

Various witness statements were read out which described Richard ‘Dickie’ Percival as 'the nicest guy you'll ever meet’.

Warrington Guardian:

The court heard of the pensioner’s devotion to Vulcan FC and his prominence in the Warrington and District Football League.

He was described as a ‘private man’ who ‘could always find him stood on the touchline.’

John McDermott, defending, argued there was no evidence to suggest Cruddace went into the attic to steal money and left Mr Percival’s wallet and bank cards.

The defence added how Cruddace suffers from ADHD and mild autism.

The teen had a difficult upbringing, but his parents are not to blame, the court was told.

In a statement, David Adams explained the devastation the tragedy had brought on the family.

The family said Cruddace is too cowardly to admit the reason he murdered Dickie, which they say was motivated by financial gain.

Judge Alan Conrad QC, sentenced the teenager shortly after midday.

He said: “Richard Percival was 71-years-old when he was brutally murdered by you in his own home. He was a decent, harmless and well-liked man who kept to himself and loved sport.

“He let you into his home for conversation and to allow you to earn money doing odd jobs.

"He was small in stature and slightly built and in no position to resist the vicious and sustained armed attack that you launched upon him in his living room.

“You stole at least £620 from him, much of which you spent on drugs.

“You told numerous lies both before and during your trial.The allegations of sexual misconduct were invented by you after the murder to provide some justification of what you did.”

Cruddace was sentenced to 19 years in prison.

Friends and family from both the victim and defendant were present in court to hear the sentencing.

Cruddace showed no emotion as the sentence was delivered.

Read our live blog from Liverpool Crown Court here.