Posted on Friday 17 November 2023
Two men have been jailed for life for brutally murdering a granddad as he laid in his bed.
Lewis Armstrong and Harvey Hughes forced their way into Ross Connelly’s home in Wheatley Hill shortly after midnight on May 1 this year and repeatedly assaulted him with a weapon.
The pair carried out the vicious attack after the 46-year-old insulted Armstrong’s mother on Facebook.
He suffered multiple injuries and sadly died at the scene.
The cowardly pair then fled the scene and attempted to evade police but were eventually tracked down and arrested.
Armstrong, who was 17 at the time of the attack but has since turned 18, and Hughes, 20, were jointly charged with murder.
They were also charged with attempting to cause grievous bodily harm with intent in relation to another attack carried out the previous day on a man in Shotton Colliery.
The pair denied all charges but were found guilty following a trial at Newcastle Crown Court last month and appeared back at court today (November 17) for sentencing.
Hughes, of Girton Close, Peterlee, was jailed for life with a minimum term of 26 years, while Armstrong, of Dixon Estate, Shotton Colliery, was also jailed for life, with a minimum term of 24 years.
In a statement, Ross’ heartbroken family said: “We are thankful for today’s result. There will always be a massive hole in our lives.
“Ross was a good man with a huge heart and lots of love to give to both friends and family. Ross was a proud Shotton Colliery lad, a proud Sunderland supporter and a proud granddad. He is greatly missed.”
A Durham Constabulary spokeswoman said: “This was a vicious and unprovoked attack on a defenceless man as he laid in his own bed at home.
“Armstrong and Hughes are cold, calculated killers who used disturbing levels of violence to inflict terrible injuries which sadly cost Ross his life.
“They showed no remorse for their actions and even attempted to evade arrest.
“They are a real danger to the public so I am pleased that the jury has found them guilty of murder and that they will now remain behind bars for a significant length of time, where they can cause no further harm to our communities.
“I hope today’s result will go a small way to offer some conclusion to the horrible suffering of Ross’ family, who have supported the police investigation throughout.”