Two men and teen boy convicted of Yorkshire killing 'possibly motivated by homophobia'

Shae Nicholson, guilty of murder, was caught "using homophobic slurs to describe his victim"


Words: Jamie Tabberer; picture (left to right): Shae Nicholson and Martell Fabian Brown (South Yorkshire Police)

Two men and a teenage boy have been found guilty of their roles in the death of Doncaster man Jerry Appicella after an attack in 2019.

Appicella, 51, was attacked by a group of men brandishing a brick and a metal bar as he made his way home from his local shop on 3 December, according to South Yorkshire Police.

Officers discovered Appicella’s body at his home 12 days later when his family reported him missing.

On 25 March 2021, Shae Nicholson, 20, Martell Fabian Brown, 24, Kian Gerrard, 20, and a 15-year-old boy who cannot be named appeared before Sheffield Crown Court.

Following a trial, Shae Nicholson, 20, was found guilty of murder. Martell Fabian Brown, 24, and the 15-year-old boy were found guilty of manslaughter. Kian Gerrard was found not guilty.

"Factors, such as Appicella’s sexuality, appearance and alcohol dependency possibly played a part"

According to a police statement: "The court heard how the men's motive for the attack was simply 'because they wanted to', but other factors, such as Appicella’s sexuality, appearance and alcohol dependency possibly played a part."

Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Chief Inspector Simon Palmer commented: “On the evening of the attack, this group of young men had been hanging around the Go Local store in Denaby Main, generally being rowdy, creating a hostile atmosphere for shoppers.

“One of those people was Jerry Appicella; whilst he lived a mainly solitary life, he was a familiar face in the community, visiting the shop daily. On that particular evening, Mr Appicella came to the attention of these four men, who taunted and mocked him while he was in the shop.

“The four waited outside the shop and Mr Appicella began to make his way home down a nearby alleyway. What he didn’t know, was that the group had come up with a plan to ambush him. CCTV footage clearly shows Nicholson, crouched down, lying in wait and the others stalking him from behind.

“The attack was brutal; Nicholson used a brick to attack him and his 15-year-old attacker landed blows with a metal pole. A woman who had previously offered to walk Mr Appicella home, witnessed the final throes of the attack, and rushed to his side as the group fled the scene.”

Mr Appicella was taken home by the woman and locked his door behind him. A post mortem concluded his cause of death was severe head trauma, sustained during the attack.

DCI Palmer added: “Central to the investigation has been detailed examination of CCTV footage, which provided us with a clear timeline of events and captured the attack itself.

“Nicholson was also caught on CCTV bragging about the attack in the Go Local store and using homophobic slurs to describe his victim.”

The two men and 15 year-old boy will be sentenced in May.