Who killed Daniel Smith? Shocking murder uncovered by detectives in BBC Two series

Daniel Smith murder case

The Detectives: Murder On The Streets investigates the murder of Daniel Smith – but who killed him and what happened?


With unparalleled and intimate access, the ongoing BBC Two series follows Manchester’s homicide detectives over the course of a year, as they try to unravel complex cases in dramatic real time.

In episode four – tonight at 9PM on BBC Two – the detectives conclude their investigation.

Who killed Daniel Smith?

A rough sleeper, Daniel Smith was found dead in a burnt out tent in 2016 after being badly beaten.

Luke Benson and Adam Acton, who also slept on the streets of Manchester, were later both found guilty of the violent crime.

The court heard how the pair, high on then legal drug Spice, beat Daniel after a petty argument escalated into unspeakable violence.

After leaving him for dead, the pair returned to the scene of the crime to torch Daniel’s tent in a bid to cover up their actions.


Benson was given a minimum of 21 years in jail while Acton, who also pled guilty to attempting to pervert the course of justice, was handed a minimum 22 year sentence.

The investigation

In the first episode, we saw GMP’s Major Incident Team called to the scene of a burnt body discovered in a homeless camp under railway arches, prompting a murder investigation.

Detective Superintendent Jon Chadwick, head of MIT, took on the case – but with no CCTV and no witnesses the team had little to go on. As extensive forensic work was carried out at the scene, the investigation led detectives into the world of Manchester’s exploding young homelessness crisis.

In tonight’s final episode of The Detectives, as detectives and family prepare for the trial in the murder of young homeless man Daniel Smith, the team’s ongoing enquiries lead them to visit a homeless shelter in town.

Whilst there, another horrific crime comes to light as one man has just confessed to staff there that he has murdered a student and the body is in student accommodation in the city centre.


As the trial date finally arrives, detectives and family of Daniel Smith are together at court. With the two main suspects pleading not guilty the outcome is now in the hands of the jury…

The Detectives: Murder On The Streets airs at 9PM on BBC Two.