A decorator has admitted spraying red paint over a homeless man in an attack that shocked the nation.
Aaron Jones - who walked into court wearing a plastic Frankenstein mask - blasted Michael Cash, 32, with paint and then posted a video of the aftermath which went viral online.
On September 9, Michael was sitting in his usual spot outside a Tesco in Normanby, Middlesbrough, when he was covered in paint, sitting meekly on the ground whilst videoed in the aftermath of the attack.
In the clip Jones, 33, says: 'This is how we deal with beggars on the street', adding 'he's not even a beggar'. Chillingly, he then says: 'There he is, sprayed to death.'
Four days later, to the devastation of his family and the local community who had taken mild-mannered Michael to its heart, he was found dead in nearby Eston Cemetery.
It is not yet known how Michael died. An inquest will be held later this year and toxicology reports have been ordered to establish whether he had drugs in his system at the time.
Self employed painter and decorator Jones, who lives in Balmor Road, Normanby, close to the scene of the attack, admitted two charges of assaulting Michael and causing criminal damage at Teesside magistrates court.
Michael was laid to rest on September 28th at Kirkleatham Crematorium near Redcar.
During the service, Kevin Leavesley said: 'Michael was a happy-go-lucky lad who struggled with losing his mum but never stopped putting other people before himself.'
People in Middlesbrough and across the country raised over £1,000 ($1,309) through an online crowdfunding campaign to contribute towards the funeral costs.
Michael's family said that he struggled with losing his mother Elaine at the age of 51 through cancer.
When she died Michael, the youngest of four siblings, was left unable to take on the lease of the local authority house and he ended up homeless and addicted to drugs.
However his polite, courteous manner made him a popular character with local people who would buy him food and often sit on the ground with him to eat.
Michael was estranged from his father Paul Cash and without his 'guiding light' Elaine he began experimenting with drugs, turned to heroin and ended up homeless.
His aunt, Elaine's twin sister Lorraine Darling - who is known as Lozzie - said: 'He never got over the death of his mother, he was lost without her.'
Mrs Darling, 63, of Scarborough, North Yorks, said: 'Michael was a lovely lad as a young boy, he was a harmless, kind, gentle soul and he wouldn't have dreamt of harming anyone.
'Michael was devoted to Elaine and when she died it devastated him, he was so lost without her - we all were.
'She was only 51 when she died but Michael was with her to the very end, he was her carer.
'They were very close and she was his guiding light, after she died I don't think the world was ever the same for him. I lost the twin sister I loved so much and Michael lost his way, there seemed nothing we could do to help him.
'The house was in Elaine's name so Michael was told he couldn't stay there.
'He didn't become homeless straight away but he ended up in a flat in Thorntree where got caught up in the wrong crowd and began taking drugs.
'Without Elaine's guidance things got worse and worse and he ended up losing the flat.'
Michael's family rallied around him. HIs elder half brother and sister Stephen and Sarah Carman both tried to help him and his full brother Paul Cash tried to take him into his home where he lives with his children and wife Christine.
But too proud to rely on the kindness of his family Michael chose to live on the streets where his drug addiction spiralled out of control.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
© Associated Newspapers Ltd.