Decorator admits spray paint attack on homeless man who later died

Aaron Jones, right, has admitted assault and criminal damage after the attack on Michael Cash, left Aaron Jones, right, has admitted assault and criminal damage after the attack on Michael Cash, left Aaron Jones appeared at Teesside  Jones was given a community order for 18 months with 180 hours of unpaid work, he received 20 rehabilitation days, was ordered to pay £100 compensation for the damage to the wall of The Shed micropub whose wall was sprayed and £85 costsCash was laid to rest on September 28th at Kirkleatham Crematorium near Redcar.During the service, celebrant 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 through an online crowdfunding campaign to contribute towards the funeral costs.Mr Cash’s family said he had struggled to cope following the death of his mother, Elaine, at the age of 51 following a battle with cancer. Mr Cash’s polite manner made him a popular character with local people in MiddlesbroughCredit:NNP/Richard Rayner A decorator has received a community order after he admitted spraying red paint over a homeless man in an attack that caused national outrage.Aaron Jones, 33, sprayed Michael Cash, 32, with paint as he sat outside a supermarket in Normanby, Middlesbrough, and then posted a video which went viral.In the clip Jones said: “This is how we deal with beggars on the street”, adding “he’s not even a beggar…there he is, sprayed to death.”  Four days later Mr Cash was found dead in a nearby cemetery. The cause of death has not yet been established and an inquest is due to be held later this year. Toxicology reports have been ordered to establish whether he had drugs in his system at the time.Jones, who was subsequently charged with assault and criminal damage, turned up to Teesside Crown Court on Wednesday wearing a Frankenstein mask,.He admitted the charges and was handed a community order. Chairman of the bench Stephen Walker told Jones: “We have put this in highest category of common assault,  the reason is the aggravating features that it was a targeted assault with an element of pre-meditation. This was a vulnerable victim and the assault was shared on social media.” Following her death, Mr Cash, who was the youngest of four siblings, was left unable to take on the lease for the local authority house and ended up on the streets and addicted to drugs.However his polite and courteous manner made him a popular character with local people, who would often buy him food.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.” Mr Cash’s sister Sarah Carman gave a victim personal statement which Miss Dodsworth read to the court.Miss Carman, 43, said:”I was absolutely disgusted and sickened that someone would do that to Michael. He was a polite, pleasant, happy go lucky person who did not have a bad bone in his body. He was hurting no one and did not deserve what happened to him.”The court heard that Jones was a recovering cocaine addict who had a dislike of “beggars”.His solicitor Neil Douglas described the attack on Mr Cash as “degrading.”He said that Jones had thought he was justified in attacking Mr Cash but had now reconsidered after a period of “time and reflection and perhaps taking into consideration the opinions of others.” The spray paint attack took place in Middlesbrough “The incident on September 6th followed that. This defendant is a painter and decorator  and used a Supersoaker water gun filled with water which he combined with red paint.” Prosecutor Rachael Dodsworth told the court that Jones had previously insulted Mr Cash on social media before his attack.She said: “On August 31st Mr Jones uploaded a picture on Facebook of Michael Cash and added the caption “about time this Spice head got removed from the back of Tesco, smile for the camera” and he added a laughing face emoji. Aaron Jones received a community order Aaron Jones received a community orderCredit:NNP Aaron Jones appeared at Teesside Credit:PA/Henry Clare 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.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.