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23rd Feb 2023

Boy who asked ‘Accrington Stanley, who are they?’ in milk advert jailed for murder

Jack Peat

Kevin Spaine has been sentenced to a minimum of 18 years

The young lad who once asked ‘Accrington Stanley, who are they?’ in a much-loved tv advert for milk has been jailed for murder.

Kevin Spaine, 43, was sentenced to a minimum of 18 years for battering 53-year-old Learoy Vennerin to death in Liverpool in July last year.

Spaine’s face wasn’t seen on camera during the iconic advert but uttered the immortal line that shot the footballing minnows to national notoriety.

But despite showing a promising talent for acting and football as a youngster, he grew up to lead a life of crime.

And on Wednesday (22/02) he was jailed for life for the brutal murder of Learoy, who died after he was kicked and punched in the Belmont Drive area of Anfield.

Spaine had pleaded guilty to manslaughter but was found guilty of murder after a trial at Liverpool Crown Court.

Merseyside Police said they welcomed the sentence of life, with a minimum of 18 years.

A post mortem examination found Learoy, 53, received “multiple forceful blows” which caused a brain injury.

Speaking after the sentencing, detective chief inspector Judith Blease said: “Spaine compounded the suffering of Learoy’s family by denying murder, and altering his story to try and avoid responsibility.

“Now, through this trial, we know now that Spaine repeatedly struck Learoy, and then left the scene without alerting anyone to the devastating injuries he had inflicted.

“Spaine will now be serving a significant jail term.”

Spaine, who was incorrectly referred to as ‘Kevin Staine’ in the credits for the advert, briefly appears on camera in the 1989 telly ad.

He is seen walking through the shot before it focusses on his co-star Carl Rice besides a fridge in the kitchen. Spain asks: “Have you got any lemonade?”

A young Rice then pours himself a glass of milk, to which Spaine reacts in horror: “Milk? Eurgh.”

His friend tells him: “It’s what Ian Rush drinks. He said if I don’t drink lots of milk, when I grow up I’ll only be good enough to play for Accrington Stanley.”

Spaine then delivers the iconic line “Accrington Stanley, who are they?” before Rice responds with “exactly”.

But while his co-star Rice went on to have a successful career on screen, including roles in Coronation Street, Trollied and Brassic, Spaine followed a life of crime.

Local media reported Spaine’s barrister told the court his life has been ‘ruined and dominated’ by drug abuse and he has a long history of criminal offending.

He told the court Spaine was a promising young footballer, and he appeared in the famous advert for milk involving Accrington Stanley when he was ‘around 10 or 12’.

But shortly afterwards, he said Spain sank into a life of criminality.

Local media reports show he has previous convictions for drug dealing, wounding and assault with intent to rob.

In a statement read to the court, Learoy’s siblings said: “Learning of the tragic passing of our beloved brother Learoy has been difficult for us as a family to comprehend.

“Learoy had a beautiful personality and such a loving, gentle soul. We loved Learoy so much, we will forever hold him close and dearly to our hearts, minds and soul for the rest of our lives.

“Some of us have been too overwhelmed by the intensity of the process of the case and could not find the courage to attend the court hearing.

“Our lives are in ruins, however we are full of gratitude for the Prosecuting Team and the Family Liaison Team, who have fully supported us along the agony and has better positioned us to deal with the effects.

“As the case comes to a close we can only hope we might now be able to substance the burden of losing our brother.”

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