THREE Poole teenagers were yesterday named as the killers of a Big Issue seller beaten to death after refusing to hand over his tobacco.

Jimmy Ayres, 15, Warren Crago and Craig Real, both 17, were convicted of the manslaughter of Ralph Millward by a Winchester Crown Court jury.

The three, who all hail from the Rossmore area of Poole, can now be named after Judge Guy Boney lifted an order on their anonymity.

Homeless Mr Millward, 41, was discovered under an upturned trolley close to his pitch outside Marks and Spencer in Westbourne early on May 8 last year.

The jury cleared the three of murder charges, but took just over two hours to reach their manslaughter verdict at the end of a five-week trial Ayres, of Aspen Gardens, the youngest of the killers, broke down in tears at the verdict, while Crago, of Arne Crescent, and Real, from Turbary Close, hung their heads.

In upholding an application from the Daily Echo to reveal the boys’ identities, Judge Boney cited the “appalling” facts of the case and the overwhelming public interest in his decision.

The trial heard the teenagers had been downing cider at a friend's Westbourne flat on the night of May 7 last year.

They went looking for Mr Millward when they ran out of tobacco. When he turned down their request for cigarettes the gang launched into a vicious assault.

Crago and Real later came back with a shopping trolley to continue the attack.

The Big Issue seller was left for dead, with fractured ribs and ruptured organs, and his bloodied body was discovered by street workers hours later.

Ultimately, it was three teenagers who brought each other down during the trial. In attempting to minimise their involvement in the attacks on Mr Millward, the boys all readily told of the violence dished out by their friends.

Ayres had claimed he took no part in either attack, while Crago and Real insisted they had only landed one kick each on Mr Millward.

The three young killers will be sentenced next month.

Detective Inspector Jez Noyce of Dorset Police’s Major Crime Investigation Team, said: “This was a despicable crime against a defenceless and homeless man.”

He thanked Westbourne residents and traders for their help in the inquiry.

“Ralph’s killers were arrested following a report of criminal damage to cars in the Westbourne area from a member of the public,” he said.

“Our thoughts go out to Ralph’s family and friends, particularly among the homeless community in Westbourne.”

A spokesperson from the Crown Prosecution Service called the case “horrific” and said justice had now been done for Ralph Millward.

A statement added: “The three youths were originally charged with the murder of Mr Millward but have now been convicted of manslaughter.

“In this case, the jury were unable to convict the youths for murder but their guilty verdict of manslaughter still ensures the defendants are held accountable for the unlawful taking of Mr Millward’s life.”

For three more exclusive reports on this story, see Saturday's Daily Echo.