A WIDOWER who kicked his Scottish housemate to death during a row at their seaside “singleton’’ home has been jailed for life.

Geoffrey Howard, 64, beat and stamped on 63-year old George Crawley with such force the victim suffered 15 different fractures to his ribs, plus a broken breastbone.

The victim, originally from Hamilton, South Lanarkshire, was found dead in the back yard of the property he shared with Howard in Blackpool, with police finding the house spattered with blood.

Examinations showed it took more than two hours for Mr Crawley to die following the savage beating.

He and his killer had been friends and socialised together, but would argue with such ferocity that neighbours could hear them bickering.

One woman walking her dog crossed the road to avoid passing by their front door.

The murder robbed Mr Crawley of the opportunity to be reconciled with his estranged family.

At Preston Crown Court, Howard was convicted of murder after a trial and was ordered to serve a minimum of 16 years.

The court heard the two men moved in together in February 2017 after the death of Howard’s wife Susan, but neighbours said there was ‘’venomous’’ arguing and doors being angrily slammed shut.

The tragedy occurred last January 15 after Howard set about Mr Crawley for reasons unknown following a drinking bout.

He only dialled 999 after Mr Crawley died, then claimed he had found his friend bleeding heavily and fatally injured, apparently after a fall.

He claimed the victim died after he crawled outside to have a cigarette.

Howard told police: “George was at the bottom of the stairs and there was loads of blood.

"I asked if he needed an ambulance but he said, ‘No, I’ll just rest for a bit’. I actually got a cloth out of the kitchen and bathed his head.

“When I went back out I said, ‘get up’, and I tried to pick him up but he just wouldn’t move. I just saw his face and he, well, I just knew he was dead. It’s the gospel truth.’’

But the court heard bloodstained clothing discovered in a tumble drier was found to have Mr Crawley’s DNA.

Traces of his blood were also recovered from the bannister at the top of the stairs, the skirting board at the bottom of the stairs, the bottom step and the edge of a cabinet in the hallway.

A heavily-blood-stained zip-up top was found behind an internal door while a pair of shorts and two socks smeared with the victim’s blood were recovered from two wheelie bins.

Mr Justice Ian Dove told Howard: “That friendship you had was cruelly betrayed by your violence that night.

"The brutal beating you gave to him was completely barbaric and inexcusable.

“It was a vicious and sustained attack, kicking and stamping on him and causing him horrific multiple injuries from which he had no chance of recovery.”