Pensioner died after being tied to chair by burglar demanding PIN, court told

·3-min read
David Varlow, who was found dead at his home last year after being tied to a chair during a break-in. (West Midlands Police/PA)
David Varlow, who was found dead at his home last year after being tied to a chair during a break-in. (West Midlands Police/PA)

A pensioner died after being tied to a chair by a burglar who returned to the crime scene more than a week later to free his victim’s body, a murder trial has heard.

Prosecutors allege Adris Mohammed went back to the home of David Varlow, knowing the pensioner would be dead, to hunt for further items to steal.

A trial at Birmingham Crown Court was told Mr Varlow, aged 78, was found dead after police forced entry to his home in Manor Lane, Halesowen, West Midlands, last November.

Mohammed, from Icknield Port Road, Birmingham, denies murder, manslaughter, attempted burglary, and two counts each of fraud and burglary.

Opening the Crown’s case on Monday, prosecutor Peter Grieves-Smith alleged that 44-year-old Mohammed went to Mr Varlow’s home on October 24, November 3 and overnight on November 11-12.

The prosecutor told the court Mohammed had tried to break into the property on his first visit and went back to the house on November 3 in the early hours of the morning.

Mr Grieves-Smith said: “On this occasion he got inside the house. He stole a bank card which he and others used to commit fraud.”

Alleging that Mohammed aimed to withdraw as much money as possible using the card, Mr Grieves-Smith told jurors: “The plan would only work if David Varlow could not alert the police or the bank.

“He tied David Varlow to a chair in his living room in such a way he would never be able to free himself.

“It would have been obvious David Varlow was old and frail, but he didn’t care.

“In tying him up, Adris Mohammed either intended to kill him or to cause him really serious harm.”

Jurors were told that Mr Varlow’s bank account contained almost £19,000, and that Mohammed has previous convictions for dwelling house burglary.

The court heard that Mr Varlow dialled 999 after the initial attempted burglary, in which a rear window was smashed.

During the burglary in which he was tied up, the court heard, Mr Varlow was “compelled” to reveal his card’s PIN.

Mr Grieves-Smith said of Mohammed: “The first thing he did with the bank card was to check the balance.

“That bank account had more than £19,000 in it. Having checked to see how much money there was, he withdrew £250 in cash.

“To have done that he must have known the PIN and David Varlow, the prosecution say, must have been forced to divulge it.

“He didn’t do so of his own free will. He must have been terrified.

“On the floor (of the living room) was not merely the cable that tied him up, but a knife as well.

“The prosecution suggest that David Varlow was compelled to provide the details of his PIN.”

During his opening remarks, Mr Grieves-Smith alleged that Mohammed was accompanied by co-defendant O’Shay Swan, who is accused of burglary and fraud, when he returned to Manor Lane late on November 11 or early on November 12.

The prosecutor continued: “The prosecution suggest Adris Mohammed would have felt confident that when he returned, David Varlow would be in no position to recognise him because he would be dead.

“If he had thought there was any chance that David Varlow was alive, he would never have gone back.”

Alleging that Mohammed had untied the victim during the final visit, allowing the body to fall to the floor, Mr Grieves-Smith added that the victim was found a few days later when the police forced entry.

Swan, 42, of Winson Green Road, Birmingham, denies burgling Mr Varlow’s property on a day between November 10 and 13 and committing fraud in relation to the use of a bank card on November 12.

The trial, expected to last for three weeks, continues.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting