Kent

Maidstone pensioner's murderers jailed for life

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 jailed for his murder.

John Birney, 69, was found dead in Rocky Hill Terrace on 8 June and had been dead for "some time", police said.

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

Barham will spend at least 18 years in prison and Tomlin will serve a minimum of 16 years in jail.

Image copyright Kent Police
Image caption Allison Tomlin and John Barham were both jailed for life for the murder of John Birney

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.

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.

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."

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