TWO men have been given life sentences for the brutal murder of Paul Morson.

John Burns, 34, from Huyton, was sentenced to a minimum of 30 years and Ray Brierley, from Whiston must serve at least 25 years for the murder of Mr Morson, whose body has never been found.

A third man, Scott Callaghan, 34, was cleared of murder and manslaughter but sentenced to eight years for perverting the course of justice after driving Mr Morson’s van to Holmes Chapel, just after his death.

Detective Superintendent Dave Brunskill, who led the investigation into Paul's kidnap and murder, said: "The murder of Paul was a tragedy for his family and girlfriend, who went through the agony of not knowing for several months how and why he had disappeared.

"They have had to come to terms with his death while not having a body to lay to rest, which has made it particularly difficult for them.

"I would like to take this opportunity to appeal once again to anyone out there who may know where Paul's body is. I believe that someone in the circles that Paul, John Burns, Ray Brierley moved in must know something. It is a devastating secret to keep and doing so is having a devastating effect on Paul's loved ones. I would urge you to do the right thing and give us the information we need to bring them the closure they need.

"No one ever deserves to be harmed or killed but this case has shown the lengths that ruthless men like Burns and Brierley are prepared to go to protect their criminal enterprises. Our investigation established that the defendants and victim fell out, at least in part over a cannabis factory and ultimately Paul had his life taken away because of that dispute. If anyone stills needs convincing that cannabis is not a harmless drug then this case proves that.

"Drugs of all kinds still blight our communities and the police remain as determined as ever to rid them and the criminals that peddle them from the streets. But we need the public's help to achieve this and I would encourage people to keep giving us the information about criminal activity in their area so that we can take action.

"This has been one of the most complex and challenging murder investigations I and many of my team have ever been involved in. I would like to thank everyone who has played a part in the case for their hard work, determination, skill and professionalism. "It shows that the police, the Crown Prosecution Service and the prosecution team were determined to secure justice for Paul and his family."