A KEEN martial arts enthusiast ‘kicked and beat to death’ a highly vulnerable man in Warrington town centre, a murder trial has heard.

Daniel Sharples, of Griesdale Avenue in Orford, appeared at Liverpool Crown Court this afternoon, Monday, after being charged with murder.

It is alleged that the 38-year-old delivered a devastating attack on wheelchair user Michael Mairs, 53 and of Church Street in Howley, who later died at Warrington Hospital after suffering fatal injuries.

And the prosecution says that Sharples used his prowess and skill for a darker purpose that it was intended – to launch an ‘unprovoked and vicious’ assault on a ‘totally defenceless’ individual.

READ> First day of Michael Mairs murder trial as it happened

Outlining the facts of the case, prosecutor Richard Pratt told jurors how around midday on October 6 last year, Mr Mairs met with friends on Winwick Street.

Daniel Sharples was also in Warrington that day, eating pancakes and drinking lager and sambuca shots in two popular town centre pubs.

At 12.14pm, he was caught on CCTV approaching Mr Mairs and his friends, with his body language ‘suggesting him to be angry about something’.

“Daniel Sharples physically attacked three of the men with punches and kicks,” Mr Pratt said. “They did nothing to provoke or incite that attack.

Warrington Guardian:

Michael Mairs

“Two of them received comparatively minor injuries, but the third, Michael Mairs, was subjected to a particularly brutal attack involving punches and kicks to his head.

“During the assault, the defendant even tipped him, barely conscious, out of his wheelchair and later threw the wheelchair aside.”

The victim was rushed to intensive care at Warrington Hospital, but sadly passed away three weeks later.

Mr Pratt added: “He was not a well man, but there is no doubt that his death had one central cause – he had quite simply been kicked and beaten to death in the street.”

The trial heard how before the attack, the victim suffered from chronic alcoholism and deep vein thrombosis, which led to the partial amputation of his left leg. He also had cirrhosis of the liver.

Warrington Guardian:

A pathologist spoke of how such extensive facial injuries, the like of which were sustained by Mr Mairs and were the ‘central cause’ of his death, would have been dangerous, even in a healthy individual.

Sharples fled the scene following the incident but was detained by police officers shortly afterwards.

At the scene, the defendant was heard justifying his actions by saying that Mr Mairs and his friends had been selling drugs to his 15-year-old son.

But there is no evidence to support this, the prosecution say, and in a statement, Sharples’ son said that he has never taken drugs and did not know Mr Mairs.

The trial continues and is expected to last for seven days.