Man in court over pensioner deaths

Salisbury Journal: Cynthia Beamond was found dead at her home in Halesowen on Sunday (West Midlands Police/PA) Cynthia Beamond was found dead at her home in Halesowen on Sunday (West Midlands Police/PA)

An alleged double-killer has appeared in court charged with murdering two pensioners who were found dead at their homes more than 120 miles apart.

Leo Barnes smiled in the dock and shouted abuse at people sitting in the public gallery during a six-minute hearing at Dudley Magistrates' Court.

The 32-year-old was not asked to enter a plea to the murders of Cynthia Beamond and Philip Silverstone, whose bodies were found in the West Midlands and London.

Wearing a black T-shirt, Barnes also shrugged and smirked as he refused to provide the court clerk with his name, address and date-of-birth.

Barnes, of Runcorn Road, Balsall Heath, Birmingham, appeared in court alongside Chantelle Moran-Stokes, who is also accused of murdering Mrs Beamond.

The body of Mrs Beamond, aged 80, was found hidden inside her semi-detached house in Halesowen, near Birmingham, on Sunday after she was reported missing by family members.

A post-mortem examination found she died from head injuries suffered during a violent attack.

Mr Silverstone, who had been stabbed, was found dead on Monday at his flat in Spencer House, Belsize Park, north-west London, after concerns were raised for his welfare.

Moran-Stokes, 24, from Latches Close, Darlaston, West Midlands, and Barnes were both remanded in custody to appear at Wolverhampton Crown Court tomorrow.

Mrs Beamond is formally alleged to have been killed on a day between June 26 and June 30, while Mr Silverstone's murder is alleged to have taken place between June 27 and July 1.

A spokesman for West Midlands Police said: "West Midlands Police is working with the Metropolitan Police Service on this joint investigation and both forces have continued to update the families of Mrs Beamond and Mr Silverstone throughout."

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