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Pair guilty of OAP torture murder
Two lovers have been convicted of murder after torturing and killing a pensioner and then returning to the scene of the crime to empty his freezer.
Retired bus conductor Barry Reeve, 67, was found brutally murdered in his home in Norwich, Norfolk, in February last year.
It is thought he lay dying for up to 48 hours after the attack, during which he was punched, stamped on and slashed with a knife in an attempt to force him to disclose his Pin.
Drug addicts Kelly Barnes, 32, and Jodie Barnes, 31, of Bixley Close, Norwich, who were in a civil partnership, had both denied murder, blaming one another for the killing but a jury has found them guilty after five hours of deliberation. Mr Reeve's family wept as the verdict was delivered at Norwich Crown Court.
Jodie Barnes, formerly Ramsbottom, who claimed during the trial that "God had forgiven her", clutched a Bible and looked stunned. Kelly Barnes shook her head and looked towards her partner. Jodie Barnes broke down and, as sentence was passed, shouted: "I didn't lie, I swore on the Bible."
Jailing them for life, Judge Peter Jacobs said: "As a result of the attack, Mr Reeve was kicked, stamped upon and punched, then put to the ground in a semi-comatose state but he was sufficiently conscious to be able to give you information.
"Some form of kitchen knife was used to cut this man. Serious, deep incised cuts were made to both cheeks and to his stomach. A forensic pathologist said the obvious: those cuts were made to get information, probably both his Pin number and any information about what was in the property.
"It was a grotesque situation that he was lying there slowly dying and you were going around his property, stepping over and around his body and stealing his property. Survival was impossible, death was inevitable. You took away just about anything of value that he had."
Mr Jacobs added that after their arrests the couple were still "an item" and only began to blame one another when the weight of evidence against them became clear. He ordered each to serve a minimum term of 24 years.
Jonathan Goodman, mitigating on behalf of Kelly Barnes, told the court it had not been a pre-meditated attack. Jodie Barnes's barrister, Graham Arnold, said: "There was no intention to kill. It is distressing that he was left to die in the way that he was, but there was no attempt to finish him off."