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31 January 2013, 12:31 | Updated: 31 January 2013, 12:36
Two women have been found guilty of murdering an elderly man in Norwich to fuel their drug addictions.
Kelly Barnes, aged 32 and Jodie Barnes, aged 31, both formally of 24 Bixley Close, were both convicted of killing Barry Reeve, aged 67, whose body was discovered at his home address in Corton Road in Norwich in February.
A post mortem showed that Barry had died from hypothermia brought on as a result of a skull fracture and multiple other injuries to his body including two slash wounds to the abdomen, lacerations to the cheeks and forehead and 5 fractured ribs and he had probably been dead for at least two weeks before his body was discovered.
The last known sightings of Barry, a retired First Eastern bus conductor, had been at The Busman’s Club on Rouen Road in the early afternoon of Thursday 9 February 2012 and later on in Castle Meadow, as it was getting dark.
A woman, thought to be Kelly Barnes, answered Barry’s mobile number and told the caller that the phone had a new owner and she had bought it on Wednesday 8 February 2012.
Officers had arrived at Corton Road to find the body of Barry face-down in the sitting room, close to the hallway entrance. There were no signs of a break in, although drawers had been emptied and bloody footprints were found in the kitchen.
It is believed that Barry had been severely beaten by the couple and then left there to die. It was later revealed that Barry’s electricity card had expired and when electricity was restored to the address, the TV came on at a very high volume. There were also a number of Evening News papers by the door and the milk on the doorstep had expired on Saturday 17 February 2012.
Following the discovery of Barry’s body, his mobile phone, wallet and other items were recovered from the home address of Kelly and Jodie Barnes.
DNA samples obtained from heavily bloodstained jogging bottoms and boots belonging to Jodie and trainers taken from Kelly, showed traces of Barry’s blood. The shoes worn by both offenders were also matched to shoe prints found in blood in Barry’s house.
During interview neither Kelly nor Jodie admitted any involvement although the court heard how a taxi driver had taken them back to the Corton Road property on Thursday 9 February 2012, where they removed several bags of property before heading to a cash point. Both later admitted they were present when Barry was attacked but each blamed the other.
CCTV images, used as evidence at the trial of Jodie Barnes and Kelly Barnes, shows them making several attempts to withdraw money from a cash machine using Barry Reeve’s debit card.
Detective Chief Inspector Andy Guy, from the Norfolk and Suffolk Joint Major Investigation Team, welcomed the conviction saying "“Murder is thankfully a rare crime in Norfolk and Suffolk. Even more unusual is the fact that this crime was committed by two young women who clearly were prepared to inflict injuries on an elderly man in order to obtain his PIN number.
"It is beyond comprehension that the pair returned to Barry’s home whilst he was dying on the floor in order to steal further items from him.”
Family statement from Barry Reeve's children
Our father was a private quiet man who was friendly and welcoming to everyone he knew. He enjoyed photography, plane spotting, fishing and playing cribbage. He also enjoyed working, for a time, helping with the car parking at the local football club.
As a family we were deeply shocked and distressed by what happened and the consequences for both of us, his son and daughter and his grandchildren.
Our family could not be happier with the verdict, however, no amount of time these women spend in prison will change what happened and bring back our lovely little dad.
We would like to express our gratitude to Norfolk Constabulary for all their hard work and support especially our Family Liaison Officer who has been there for us since this ordeal began. We would also like to thank friends, family and Victim Support for their support given, in what has been the worst imaginable year of our lives.
The whole court process has been a very emotional time, however, we look upon this as closure and now need to concentrate on our grieving and learning to live our lives without Dad whilst trying to come to terms with the awful circumstances in which he was taken from us.