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Last Updated: Friday, 27 July 2007, 15:50 GMT 16:50 UK
Pair convicted of viaduct murder
Darren Stewart (l) and Martin Pollard
Stewart and Pollard pleaded guilty to false imprisonment
A man and a teenage girl have been found guilty of the murder of a man with learning disabilities.

Steven Hoskin, 38, from St Austell, Cornwall, was humiliated and abused for hours by a gang, a court heard.

He was drugged, taken to a viaduct and forced to hang from railings. The 17-year-old girl stamped on his hands causing him to fall 100ft to his death.

Darren Stewart, 30, was jailed for life and the girl detained. Another man was convicted of manslaughter.

Martin Pollard, 21, had also been accused of murder but was convicted of the lesser charge by a jury at Truro Crown Court.

All three had pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm and Pollard and Stewart had pleaded guilty to false imprisonment. The girl was convicted of false imprisonment.

Collectively their behaviour culminated in unparalleled cruelty and evil that has absolutely no place in modern society
Det Ch Insp Mike Fowkes

Two 17-year-old boys, who cannot be named, were also found guilty of assault and false imprisonment.

The jury at the Truro Crown Court heard Mr Hoskin, who had the reading ability of a six-year-old, was burnt with cigarettes, walked around on a dog lead and was forced to confess to being a paedophile.

He was also forced to eat 70 paracetamol tablets.

The teenage girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told the court a plan was then hatched to take him to the top of a viaduct in Trenance Road, St Austell "to scare him".

Meagre home

Mr Hoskin was stamped on and kicked in the face as he clung to railings at the viaduct, the court heard.

The jury took about 15 hours to reach their verdicts on all three defendants accused of murder.

Steven Hoskin
Steven Hoskin was beaten and forced to act like a dog

Stewart was found not guilty of intimidating a witness.

The remainder of the sentencing will take place on Monday. The judge said he would consider the possibility of lifting an order protecting the identities of the juveniles.

Det Ch Insp Mike Fowkes, senior investigating officer, said: "The group of five defendants tortured him in the secrecy and privacy of his own home, a meagre home he had willingly opened to them with the hand of friendship.

"Collectively their behaviour culminated in unparalleled cruelty and evil that has absolutely no place in modern society."

Thomas Hoskin said his nephew had led a "simple life" and the group had taken advantage of his inability to recognise evil in people.

"Today the persons responsible for his death have been convicted for their part in Steven's death and we now hope he can finally rest in peace."

Cornwall County Council has confirmed that a multi-agency review will be held to see if any lessons can be learned from "this terrible incident".

Neighbours talk about the man who was murdered

Girl denies forcing man to death
11 Jul 07 |  Cornwall
Murder jury warned over 'emotion'
18 Jul 07 |  Cornwall
Man 'bullied to death' by gang
13 Jun 07 |  Cornwall
Trio plead not guilty to murder
01 Dec 06 |  Cornwall
Girl and men charged with murder
23 Aug 06 |  Cornwall

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