Man Jailed Over The Murder Of Boxer Tyson Fury’s Cousin
Curated By: Siddarth Sriram
Last Updated: August 04, 2023, 19:59 IST
London, United Kingdom (UK)
The man who murdered the cousin of world heavyweight boxing champion Tyson Fury with a knife during a bar brawl has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 28 years.
Liam O’Pray, 22, used a lock-knife with a seven-inch blade to stab Rico Burton, 31, in the neck, almost severing his major carotid artery and causing massive blood loss, in Altrincham, on 22 August 2022.
The defendant, from Swinton, Salford, Greater Manchester, was found guilty of murder by a jury following a three-week trial last month at Manchester Crown Court.
Judge Alan Conrad handed the father-of-one a life sentence, with a minimum of 28 years before he is up for parole.
“You were a stabbing waiting to happen. You can blame all manner of things but the fact is you and others like you who chose to carry knives that’s the problem,” he told the defendant.
The trouble had begun after a fight between the defendant’s friends and Mr Burton’s family and friends at a courtyard of bars called Goose Green, the court heard.
The court heard how the fight erupted after O’Pray’s friend Malachi Hewitt-Brown was punched by Burton’s cousin.
Door staff and witnesses told the trial that O’Pray, of Salford, had been a “loose cannon” and was “very erratic” that night.
O’Pray was also found guilty of stabbing Harvey Reilly, 17 at the time, during the same incident. Reilly’s wounds were not fatal.
Cannabis, cocaine and ketamine were found in O’Pray’s bloodstream.
Burton’s death prompted his cousin to post a plea on social media about knife crime, declaring that “this needs to stop”. In his Instagram post, Fury said: “Life is very precious and it can be taken away very quick enjoy every moment … RIP Rico Burton may the lord God grant you a good place in heaven. See you soon,” as the boxer called on the British government to clamp down harder on knife crime.
In a victim impact statement read out in court, Deborah Burton, a mother of five and the mother of Rico, described as her “golden boy”, said: “Throughout the whole Traveller community Rico will never be forgotten. On the day he died, a piece of me died inside. I have had my heart ripped out and cut into pieces.”