An 84-year-old man used a spade to fatally assault his neighbour before fleeing the scene on an electric scooter. Police reported that Thomas Dunn had meticulously planned the attack on Royston Costello at the Cheshire sheltered housing complex.
Mr Costello, 60, succumbed to severe head injuries sustained in the February attack at Oakdene Court, Sandbach. Dunn harbored a grudge against Mr Costello, exacerbated when the victim acquired a new car under a mobility scheme that got scratched. Dunn, residing at Oakdene Court, admitted to murder. At Chester Crown Court, he was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 17 years and six months.
In the months preceding the attack, Dunn had complained that Mr Costello was violating rules at the housing complex, including making noises and letting his dog off its lead, according to police. Before his death, Mr Costello denied the allegations against him.
Tensions escalated when Mr Costello confronted Dunn after discovering his scratched car, reporting it to the police. The next day, Dunn took a spade from a neighbour’s shed, waited until Mr Costello’s wife had left, and struck him from behind as he slept on the sofa. Mr Costello was struck three times, suffering fatal head injuries, according to the police.
He underwent emergency brain surgery, remained in critical care, partially paralysed and unable to speak, before passing away on April 20. Initially charged with Section 18 assault, Dunn’s charge was elevated to murder following Mr Costello’s death.