Murderers laughed and re-enacted brutal attack that killed grandfather

Two murderers were caught on CCTV laughing and re-enacting their attack on a grandfather they beat up in front of children in a park.

Murderers Steven Bennett, left, and Suni Singh Gill, right
Murderers Steven Bennett, left, and Suni Singh Gill, right

Steven Bennett and Suni Singh Gill were found guilty of the murder of Anthony Bird on Tuesday.

Mr Bird, aged 50 and known locally as "Goughy", died in hospital 17 days after the killers repeatedly kicked and punched him in Victoria Park, Tipton, on a Sunday morning in July last year. He lived in Tipton, had five adult children and died one month before the birth of his second grandchild.

Bennett and Gill launched their attack while falsely accusing Mr Bird of being a paedophile after a woman they were with said he had taken a photo of her children. In fact this claim was entirely false and Mr Bird had never been known to the police.

Leaving their victim lying unresponsive on the floor, Bennett and Gill fled the scene, leaving horrified members of the public to call 999

Mr Bird eventually managed to get up and make his way to the nearby home of his niece, who immediately called 999.

He was taken to hospital but, with a pre-existing liver condition adding to his ill health, died a fortnight later.

West Midlands Police has now revealed that, while the attack was not caught on camera, CCTV footage did show Bennett and Gill laughing and re-enacting the brutal and prolonged assault.

Anthony Bird was aged 50 when he was killed

Detective Inspector Adam Jobson, who led the investigation, said the killers were both yet to show any remorse.

He praised witnesses who were in the park for coming forward and giving evidence which proved crucial due to the victim's brain injuries.

“When Anthony Bird was attacked he went to see his niece. He was very confused," he said.

“We now know that was due to the significant beating that he had and the injuries to his brain. That is why we have relied massively on the witnesses who were in the park at the time and because of where they were positioned they helped us to identify these men. If we didn’t have them to support us, I think we would have been in a difficult position.”

Regarding the unsubstantiated claims made before the attack, Det Insp Jobson added: “Through our investigation from start to finish there has been nothing to suggest that Anthony Bird committed any offence of that nature or any other offence for that matter. He was not know to the police in relation to any sexual offences against adults or children. The comment about him being a paedophile was what was offered to the court by Bennett and Gill. Nothing in the interviews in any shape of form showed those comments to be true.

"Right from the early stages of the investigation they have denied being responsible. It wasn’t until further down the line in the case that they have provided an account to the court. I don’t think that they have ever shown any remorse.”

He added that a woman who was arrested along with the pair following the incident was not charged with any offence as the evidence provided by the witnesses in the park made clear it was Bennett and Gill who carried out the assault.

“I think people in the area were horrified that something like this had happened in the park where they took their families and children to play. And that those offenders didn’t care about their surroundings, were not bothered that people were watching or that it was a Sunday morning and that others were there to enjoy the facility.

“The attackers didn’t know Anthony Bird and he didn’t know them. They have ultimately killed him with their bare hands. They were just two people in a park on a Sunday morning who chose to pick on a vulnerable man who could not defend himself.”

Various items of evidence were seized from the killers' homes, including a pair of Bennett's trainers which had traces of Mr Bird's blood on the sole. Both men admitted confronting Mr Bird but denied murder. Bennett, an alcoholic, said he was too drunk to remember the details of what happened.

However a jury found the pair guilty after four hours of deliberation at Wolverhampton Crown Court.

Mr Bird's devastated family attended the trial and released a statement after the verdicts saying they were worried that the memory of seeing their father dying in hospital would stay with them forever.

"It was huge shock to see how badly beaten dad had been," they said.

“Our dad was an extremely caring and kind man. He was very proud of his children and was over the moon to be a grandfather. Sadly he never got to meet his second grandson who was born a month after he was killed.

“We will never understand why anybody would want to take our dad’s life in such a brutal manner. We can only hope and place our trust in the justice system to punish those responsible accordingly.”

Bennett, 38, of Bevan Road, and Gill, 33, of Shore Road, both Tipton, will be sentenced on Wednesday.

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