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Murderer of Big Issue sellers may never be released

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A HOMELESS Irishman has been sentenced to life in prison after admitting he stabbed two Big Issue sellers to death.

Paranoid schizophrenic John Ward pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility this week after killing Wayne Busst, 32, and Ian Watson-Gladwish, 31, in Birmingham earlier this year.

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Appearing at Birmingham Crown Court via video-link from high-security Ashworth Hospital, Ward was told he may never be released.

He will serve a minimum sentence of 12 years before being considered for parole and was also given a hospital order to remain at Ashworth for treatment.

The court heard that the 23-year-old, of no fixed address, had grown up in an abusive household in Ireland, where he was surrounded by alcoholism and drug-taking.

John Ward pleaded guilty to manslaughter
John Ward pleaded guilty to manslaughter

Ward was also said to have a history of violence, as Peter Grieves Smith, prosecuting, told the jury that the killer was convicted of robbery and assault in Ireland in 2011, receiving a suspended sentence for each offence.

Ward had been in Birmingham for less than 24 hours when he brutally killed Mr Busst and Mr Watson-Gladwish on the afternoon of Friday, January 11.

He had taken the train up from Euston after travelling from Dublin to London in December 2012.

CCTV evidence produced during the trial shows how the three men spent hours together after Ward befriended the well-known Big Issue sellers.

Ward later launched into a “frenzied” attack, stabbing his victims with an eight-inch knife he bought earlier that day at a supermarket.

The knife was thrown away in an alleyway and Ward walked to a nearby Odeon cinema, where he sat and wiped blood from his face and hands with napkins until the police arrived to arrest him.

“This was a truly horrific case in which two men died following a random and senseless attack — sadly they were victims of circumstance,” said Detective Sergeant Mike Griffiths, from Force CID.

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Niall O Sullivan
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Niall O’Sullivan is a reporter at The Irish Post. You can follow him on @Niall_IrishPost on Twitter

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