Barry Reeve murder trial: Couple 'left scene by taxi'

Barry Reeve The body of Barry Reeve was discovered in a house in Norwich

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A taxi driver told a court he took two women accused of torturing and killing a Norwich pensioner away from the scene of the crime.

Niall Gallagher told Norwich Crown Court he collected Kelly Barnes, 32, and Jodie Barnes, 31, from the home of Barry Reeve, 67.

He said the couple loaded his taxi with bin bags full of items taken from the bungalow, including frozen food.

The two women, who are in a civil partnership, both deny murder.

They are accused of targeting retired bus conductor Mr Reeve, believing he had large sums of cash.

Mr Reeve remained alive for up to 48 hours after being punched, stamped on and cut with a knife in an alleged attempt to force him to disclose his PIN number.

His body was found in his home two weeks later.

'A rush job'

Start Quote

"One of the bags had leaking medicine in it, another contained a large camcorder”

End Quote Niall Gallagher Taxi driver

Mr Gallagher said he collected the pair shortly after 20:30 GMT on 9 February last year, the day of Mr Reeve's murder.

He said they claimed they had been kicked out of their home as they had fallen out with an "alcoholic guy".

When they arrived at the terraced bungalow in Corton Road, first Jodie Barnes then Kelly scaled the back gate and began piling up bin bags they had carried out of the house..

Mr Gallagher added: "It seemed like a rush job. It was not carefully done.

"One of the bags had leaking medicine in it, another contained a large camcorder. There was food, some of it was frozen."

'It wasn't normal'

He said he took the couple to a cash machine at Sainsbury's where they tried to withdraw money.

Prosecutor Karim Khalil QC earlier told the court that the women made failed attempts to withdraw money using Mr Reeve's card.

Mr Gallagher said he then drove to the couple's home in Bixley Close, Norwich, where they unloaded the bags and he saw food spilling from some of them.

"It wasn't normal. I didn't feel comfortable," he said.

He contacted police to report his concerns after seeing reports that Mr Reeve's body had been discovered on February 26.

Opening the case, Mr Khalil said that the "drug addict" couple left Mr Reeve dying before returning to his flat.

A post-mortem examination showed he was alive for at least 15 hours and up to 48 hours after the attack, meaning he was still alive when they returned.

Mr Khalil said: "He was brutally beaten, cut with a sharp blade and left to die in his home, unable to summon help."

Mr Reeve lived off a pension and benefits but had been heard talking about having large sums of money, once claiming that he carried around £2,000 in cash.

The case continues.

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