Two men and teen found guilty of Doncaster man's death in 'feral attack'

Two men and a 15-year-old boy have been found guilty of their roles in the death of Doncaster man in what was described as a ‘feral attack.’

Friday, 26th March 2021, 7:00 pm

Jerry Appicella, who was 51, was attacked by a group of young men brandishing a brick and a metal bar, as he made his way home from his local shop in Denaby Main on 3 December, 2019.

Officers discovered Mr Appicella’s body at his home, on Craganour Place, 12 days later, when his family reported him missing.

Yesterday, Shae Nicholson, 20, Martell Fabian Brown, 24, Kian Gerrard, 20, and a 15-year-old boy who cannot be named appeared before Sheffield Crown Court.

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Shae Nicholson and Martell Fabian Brown have been found guilty of the death of Jerry Appicella.

Following a four week trial, Nicholson was found guilty of murder, while Brown and the 15-year-old boy were found guilty of manslaughter. Gerrard was found not guilty.

During the trial, the court heard how their motive for the attack was simply ‘because they wanted to’, but that various other factors, such as Mr Appicella’s sexuality, his appearance, or his alcohol dependency, possibly played a part.

Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Chief Inspector Simon Palmer said: “On the evening of the attack, this group of young men had been hanging around the Go Local store in Denaby Main, generally being rowdy, creating a hostile atmosphere for shoppers.

“One of those people was Jerry Appicella; whilst he lived a mainly solitary life, he was a familiar face in the community, visiting the shop daily. On that particular evening, Mr Appicella came to the attention of these four men, who taunted and mocked him while he was in the shop.

Police found Mr Appicella's body at his house in Denaby Main.

“The four waited outside the shop and Mr Appicella began to make his way home down a nearby alleyway. What he didn’t know, was that the group had come up with a plan to ambush him. CCTV footage clearly shows Nicholson, crouched down, lying in wait and the others stalking him from behind.

“The attack was brutal; Nicholson used a brick to attack him and his 15-year-old attacker landed blows with a metal pole. A woman who had previously offered to walk Mr Appicella home, witnessed the final throes of the attack, and rushed to his side as the group fled the scene.”

Mr Appicella was taken home by the woman and locked his door behind him.

He is believed to have died from his injuries just hours later.

A post mortem concluded his cause of death was severe head trauma, sustained during the attack.

DCI Palmer continued: “Mr Appicella’s family tried to contact him over the following week and then contacted police, concerned for his welfare. Officers forced entry to his home on 15 December and a murder investigation was quickly launched.

“Central to the investigation has been detailed examination of CCTV footage, which provided us with a clear timeline of events and captured the attack itself.

“Nicholson was also caught on CCTV bragging about the attack in the Go Local store and using homophobic slurs to describe his victim.”

All four men were identified and arrested between 18 and 24 December and were later charged.

The two men and 15 year-old boy will be sentenced in May.