Kent

Two found guilty of Maidstone pensioner murder

John Birney Image copyright Kent Police
Image caption John Birney's body was found in his flat in Maidstone in June

Two people who left a man for dead with multiple head wounds in his Maidstone home have been found guilty of murder.

John Birney was found in a flat in Rocky Hill Terrace on 8 June. Police believe the 69-year-old had been dead for "some time".

Allison Tomlin, 49, of no fixed address, and John Barham, 26, of Quarry Road, Maidstone, were found guilty at Maidstone Crown Court.

Both had denied the charges and are due to be sentenced at a later date.

Mr Birney's body was discovered by two employees at the flats where he lived after a neighbour said she had not seen him for some time, Kent Police said.

Image copyright Kent Police
Image caption Allison Tomlin and John Barham have both been convicted of murdering John Birney

Officers found a blood-stained knife lying next to Mr Birney, and another blade under the sofa bed on which he was lying. A coat belt was also tied closely around his left wrist.

Forensic science tests confirmed the victim's blood on a pair of Barham's jeans and Tomlin's DNA was discovered on both knives and other items in the flat, a police spokesman said.

Barham was initially released without charge, but was re-arrested after making a number of comments to people in Maidstone that he had "got away with murder".

Insp Lee Whitehead said: "We may never know the truth behind why Allison Tomlin and John Barham did what they did to John Birney but it was clear to the jury that they intended to kill him.

"Whatever the reason, there can be no doubt that this was a vicious attack and that Mr Birney suffered as a result.

Tomlin and Barham are due to be sentenced on 12 February at Maidstone Crown Court.

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