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A MAN who bludgeoned his housemate to death with an iron bar and 'lied to the very end' to cover his tracks has been jailed for life for his murder.

Henry Jones showed no emotion when the jury returned its guilty verdict or when told he would serve a minimum of 18 years behind bars at Worcester Crown Court yesterday.

There were shouts of 'yes!' and tears from friends and family of murdered 55-year-old Mark Beresford, struck by 23-year-old Jones with the iron bar at their rented house in Offmore Road, Kidderminster on the evening of March 24.

It was 15 minutes before Jones, of St Michael's Close, Stourport, called an ambulance, lying that his victim had fallen and cleaning the bar and putting it back in the toolbox.

Jones had already attacked Mr Beresford moments before, punching him to the floor and kicking him twice. He was washing off the blood at the sink when Jones hit him with the bar.

Judge Juckes said: "You hit him over the top of the head, a blow which shattered his skull and caused a dramatic brain injury which resulted in his death." He died the next day.

The court heard Jones had lost his job and was £4,000 in debt and Mr Beresford was concerned he would not be able to pay his half of the rent.

He raised concerns with the landlord, his friend of 50 years. This message was relayed to Jones's father and in turn to Jones who 'bitterly resented' it.

Mr Beresford was 5ft 6ins, weighed only eight stone and was extremely sick with pulmonary problems. Jones was five inches taller and three stone heavier the court was told.

The judge said while there was no 'pure intent' for murder, Jones had at least intended to leave his victim 'comatose' and 'at grave risk of death'.

Judge Robert Juckes QC, considering remorse, said, by maintaining a plea of self-defence, Jones had 'lied to the very end' although he said he had no doubt he regretted what he had done.

Lisa Brownhill, sister of Mr Beresford, said after the hearing: "I'm glad we have got justice for my brother."

Naomi Brown, her partner of 17 years, said: "Mark was the best bloke you could ever meet in your life and justice has been served today.

"It will never bring Mark back but at least he got the justice he deserved." They wished to thank West Mercia Police and the jury.

The jury of nine men and three women had been deliberating for four hours and 56 minutes.