BLACKPOOL man jailed for life for vicious attack.

Originally sentenced to 14 years for attempted murder.

From Blackpool Police – A man has been sentenced to life in prison for the murder of a man he attacked more than 10 years ago.

Mark Cranfield, 38, was jailed at Preston Crown Court on Friday (June 25) following the death of Alec Driver, 41, in April 2019.

In February 2007, Mr Driver (pictured, before the attack and after) was at the home address of his partner on Horsebridge Road, Blackpool. Also at the address were a number of other people, including Cranfield.

Quantities of alcohol were consumed, with Cranfield becoming increasingly aggressive towards Mr Driver.

As Mr Driver attempted to leave the first floor flat in the early hours of February 21, Cranfield pushed him down the stairs and once outside, punched Mr Driver to the floor. Cranfield then kicked and stamped on Mr Driver’s head, before jumping and landing on the victim’s head with both feet. Cranfield returned to the flat and was heard by those present to boast of what he had done. He returned to where Mr Driver lay, unresponsive, on more than one occasion to inflict further violence. Only when a neighbour found Mr Driver unconscious on the pavement was help called. He was taken to Blackpool Victoria Hospital with serious injuries.

Cranfield was later arrested and charged with attempted murder. He pleaded guilty and was jailed at Preston Crown Court in December 2007 for life with a minimum term of nine years.

Mr Driver sadly never regained full consciousness and in June 2007 was discharged from hospital into a long-term care facility where he remained in a low-awareness vegetative state, unable to communicate. He sadly died in April 2019.

A forensic post-mortem examination and further expert pathological examination established Mr Driver had died as a direct consequence of the injuries inflicted by Mark Cranfield more than 12 years earlier.

Following consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service and with the permission of the Attorney General, Cranfield was charged with murder in April last year. He pleaded guilty and was handed a life sentence with a minimum term of 21 years.

Given Cranfield had already served more than 14 years in prison for attempted murder, he was given a minimum term of imprisonment, before being able to apply for parole, of three years and 123 days. He will remain on life licence.

Det Insp Mark Dickinson, of Blackpool CID, said: “The level of violence displayed by Cranfield when he attacked Alec Driver on Horsebridge Road in February 2007 was sickening. The sentence passed down reflects how, anyone capable of such a brutal and mindless act of violence, should be either held in custody, or be subject to monitoring by the Probation Service, for the rest of their lives.

“Alec’s family wanted to publish these photos of him; one before the assault in February 2007, and the other as he was treated in his last days of life, to illustrate the effect of such a violent act.

“The lasting impact of this crime, not only on Alec Driver, but also on his family and friends, is terrible. I have nothing but admiration for the quiet dignity with which Alec’s sisters and brother have conducted themselves over the last 14 years. I hope that this conviction and sentence can offer them some sense of closure.”

In tribute, Mr Driver’s family said: “Alec Driver as a child was a victim of circumstance in that he lost his mother at 13. A mother who he truly idolised. He was the trailer to her truck. Within a short period of time he also suffered the loss of his brother George. The tragic loss of which haunted him till 21/02/07.

“Alec had his flaws which he would freely admit to however, he had a kind soul and a generous heart who would give you his last penny. Our one consolation as a family is that he outlived our father who prayed daily for him just to hear his voice.

“Alec is much loved and greatly missed by his family. The trailer is now back with the truck.”

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