Murdered disabled man’s mother killed in horror attack fights to be reopened request

Bev Irving from West Denton, Newcastle, believes opportunities to keep son Lee safe have been missed because his flaws are not recognized and he is treated like a normal adult

Bev Irving
Bev Irving

The mother of a young disabled man killed at the home of the hit man is fighting to have his request reopened.

Lee Irving had a severe learning disability and faced violence and abuse before being killed by James Wheatley.

The mother of 24-year-old Bev Irvine believes opportunities to keep her son safe have been missed because the boy’s vulnerabilities are not recognized.

She spent several years calling for a change to the law, which would make the abuse of a disability a specific crime..

His mother wants to reopen Lee’s investigation so that the circumstances leading up to his death can be heard publicly and scrutinized.

48-year-old man told ChronicleLive : “I think the coroner needs to reopen the case for the full truth to be revealed. I had to apply to the coroner to have the case reopened.

“I want to warn other parents about the vulnerable adult because no one believes how dangerous he is.”

Lee grew up in Newcastle with Bev and his three older brothers, Joe, Charlie and Owen.

He was identified as having severe speech and learning difficulties as a child and was educated at the Percy Hedley School, which caters to children with additional needs.

But his difficulties have made him the target of the evil Wheatley, who befriended him in 2014.

Lee began spending time at the Kenton Bar home Wheatley shared with his mother Julie Mills, sometimes disappearing for extended periods of time.

Lee Irving’s mother, Bev, left, in protection for her son


Newcastle Chronicles)

Bev said she would regularly report her son missing to the police and other agencies, but was repeatedly told that because Lee was an adult he was free to go where he wanted.

“Whenever Lee leaves my door, I report him missing,” she said.

“I went to the police station and told them to get him out of that house.

“In the end, I pulled my hair out just to try to protect him. I know him better than anyone and I know he’s at risk.”

And the horrifying fact is that Lee is in grave danger.

Bev Irving, son of Lee Irving murdered


Newcastle Chronicles)

He was detained and abused by Wheatley, while his mother, girlfriend, and lodger were present.

Newcastle Crown Court heard how Lee was beaten and sedated, including morphine, to prevent him from escaping his captors.

After his death, his body was rolled on a trolley and dumped near the A1 in Fawdon, Newcastle.

He has endured a catalog of injuries, likened to those seen in a car crash, including 27 broken ribs.

Bev Irving at the grave of her son Lee


Newcastle Chronicles)

Wheatley was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison with a minimum of 23 years behind bars.

Mills was jailed for 10 years and Nicole Lawrence, Wheatley’s girlfriend, for seven years – after both were found guilty of perverting due process and causing or allowing the death of a vulnerable adult.

Wheatley’s lodger, Barry Imray, was also found guilty of letting Lee die and was jailed for three years.

In 2017, Newcastle City Council released a critical case assessment that highlighted failures and missed opportunities to save Lee.

The report, prepared by the Newcastle Adult Protection Board, revealed that despite repeated pleas from family members, little was done to help Lee after he was targeted by Wheatley.

Bev Irving took a photo of his son Lee



But Bev believes the review hasn’t gone far enough and now she wants Lee’s investigation to be officially ended once the murder trial is reopened.

The mother believes that the coroner’s examination of Lee’s death will help warn other parents of the dangers vulnerable young people may face when they become adults.

And she hopes police and social services can learn lessons that will help them spot vulnerable adults at risk of abuse.

“In the end, I called the police 24/7, but he was never considered a vulnerable missing person,” Bev said.

“The failures are absolutely shocking. There are many lessons to be learned.

“I want all these facts to come out in an investigation.”

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