Family of murdered Wigan dad Lee Christy relieved to see justice served

Lee Christy with his daughter Leah
Lee Christy with his daughter Leah

The daughter of a man who was murdered in an attack at his local pub has expressed her relief that his killer has been put behind bars.

Lee Christy was brutally beaten by Derek Bentham at the Bears Paw pub in Market Street, Hindley on September 15 last year.

The Bear's Paw pub in Hindley where Lee Christy was murdered

The Bear's Paw pub in Hindley where Lee Christy was murdered

The 45-year-old survived the vicious onslaught but died of his injuries three days later.

Bentham had been heard earlier in the night claiming that Mr Christy had “interfered” in his relationship in the past, and that he planned to “smash his head in” in retaliation.

He was sentenced to life in prison at Bolton Crown Court yesterday and will serve at least 13 years in prison before he can be considered for release.

The 46-year-old of Smithwood Avenue in Hindley had denied murder but admitted manslaughter, but the plea was rejected by the court and he was found guilty of murder by a jury.

Jailed for life - Derek Bentham

Jailed for life - Derek Bentham

Following the sentencing, Mr Christy’s daughter Leah said her family was glad to bring an end to six months of anguish.

“I’m relieved that he at least got sentenced for murder,” she said.

“Everyone was making their own rumours about it, saying he was killed in different ways, so it’s good that all the truth has come out at the end of it.

“We were getting over his death and then we had to bring it all back up again.”

Of her father, the 17-year-old said: “My dad was the most amazing man you could ever meet.

“He was nice to his family and would do anything for anyone.

“We’ve all been devastated by it, and finally we’ve had some good news. So everyone’s had closure.”

Leah added: “I’ve lost the most important person in my life, me and my dad were like best friends.

“Everyone liked him in the pub, he didn’t have any trouble with anyone until Derek (Bentham) came along.”

Mr Christy had been drinking with a close friend in the Bears Paw, and got up to go to the toilet.

Bentham, who was also in the pub, followed him a short time later and began his premeditated attack.

He assaulted Lee from behind, knocking him to the ground, before climbing on top of him and repeatedly punching him in the face. He then grabbed his victim and started head-butting him.

Eventually he climbed off Mr Christy and began to walk away before turning back and kicking him one last time as he lay on the ground.

Bentham then walked out of the toilets and left the pub with his girlfriend.

Despite being so seriously injured that he had to be carried out of the toilets, Mr Christy managed to make it home to his flat across the road before an ambulance arrived to take him to hospital, where he died from an abdominal haemorrage on September 18.