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A court in the city of Preston, England has sentenced 19 year-old Nathan Richardson to a minimum of 19 years in jail for the brutal and heinous murder of an elderly Chinese man on New Year’s Day.
On December 31, 2016, Richardson attended a New Year’s Eve house party where he snorted cocaine, took ecstasy, smoked marijuana and drank alcohol, according to The Sun.
By the morning, before 8:30 a.m., Richardson, still reportedly under the influence of the drugs, ran into Wenqing Xu, a 67-year-old 110 pound Chinese tourist out on a morning jog, according to The Guardian. Xu had been visiting from China and staying with his daughter, Diana, since the summer of 2016.
Without any known motive or provocation, Richardson began to brutally beat the old man, strip him naked except for his t-shirt and drag him through the street in front of a community center.
When two community center workers, who initially thought Richardson was dragging a carpet, began to intervene, Richardson ran away. Witnesses reported that they saw Richardson viciously kick Xu while yelling, “F-ck you, get in there you bastard.”
Xu was found wearing only a t-shirt that was pulled over his chest. He died two hours later at the hospital.
Prosecutor Francis McEntee described Xu’s wounds as including 28 areas of injury on his head and neck as well as lacerations and bruising to his genital area. Further tests showed that Xu suffered broken facial bones, broken teeth, internal bruising, bleeding in the brain and scrapes consistent to being dragged on the street.
After Richardson ran off, he went to the house of a friend, Luke Jenkinson, where he changed and washed his clothes. Jenkinson denied knowing at the time that Richardson murdered Xu when he helped him that morning, though the court still sentenced him to two years and nine months in jail for assisting the offender.
However, after Richardson had cleaned himself up, he admitted his actions to friends and family through text:
“Goin jail. Think I killed sum1 (sic).”
“F-cked sum chink up. Bodied him. I think pure crime scene – his head’s gone.”
He later told a friend after looking up the story of the murder on a local news site:
“I’ve killed someone, it’s unnatural what I’ve done. I’ve just done some guy I backhanded him and he weren’t moving, I have done it.
“I kicked and stamped his head a few times. I pulled his pants down and pulled him by his balls.”
Richardson denied in court that he dragged Xu by his genitals. He also falsely told his sister that Xu had hit him first.
Richardson’s criminal record included 45 previous convictions including assault and battery. He was sentenced by the judge to serve life in prison with a minimum service of 19 years.
Judge Mark Brown told Richardson as he handed down the sentence:
“The precise circumstances of the encounter are not clear but there is no doubt that you attacked him in a brutal vicious and very cruel way.
“He was subjected to a sustained and callous assault to his head and neck and I am satisfied he suffered additional degradation when you removed his lower clothing and dragged him along the street.
“You were seen to be struggling with what was thought to be a roll of carpet which you were pulling along the street. In fact it was Mr Xu.
“This was undoubtedly an unprovoked and very cruel attack on an entirely innocent man after you took alcohol and a cocktail of drugs at a party.
“He was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time and he was of no threat or challenge to you. The attack was ferocious and sustained.
“You literally left him dying in the gutter and your only concern afterwards was to evade arrest.
“I don’t accept that this was down to the fact that you were drunk and acting in panic.”
The judge added:
“Such is the stress that this family have found it difficult to put into words the impact of his death upon them, but it is clear to me from Mrs Xu, as she is present in court and the distress written on her face, that the impact upon her and her daughter simply cannot be calculated.”
Xu’s wife and daughter were both present in court for the sentencing. They were unable to complete a victim personal statement.
After Richardson was sentenced, DCI Gary Brooks of the Lancashire police said:
“In my 24 years with the police, I can honestly say I’ve never seen injuries as bad as those inflicted on Mr Xu.
“When he left the house on the morning of 1 January he had no reason to believe he might not make it home.
“His family, who have been left devastated by his death, had no reason to think it would be the last time they saw him alive.”
Richardson’s attorney, John Jones QC, described him as “a young man with the most disadvantaged background and upbringing” who was diagnosed with a personality disorder and learning difficulties. Jones made the statement to the court:
“He accepted responsibility soon after for what he had done and has pleaded guilty to murder of an entirely innocent and respectable man. He wishes to say sorry for what he has done.”