Stourbridge murders: Homeless drug-user Aaron Barley gets 30 years minimum jail term for double stabbings

Aaron Barley crept on all fours before launching his deadly attack on the Wilkinson family

Aaron Barley, the homeless drug-user who brutally murdered Mrs Tracey Wilkinson and her 13-year-old son, Pierce, has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 30 years for the “vicious and unprovoked attack”.

Barley dressed in black and armed himself with a kitchen knife when he crept inside the Wilkinson family’s home in Stourbridge, West Midlands, on March 30, after they took him in from the street.

In the violent attack that followed, Barley repeatedly knifed defenceless Tracey Wilkinson in bed 17 times and stabbed her son Pierce in his room eight times.

Barley, who also left Mrs Wilkinson’s husband Peter for dead in the assault, was sentenced this morning by a High Court judge at Birmingham Crown Court.

CCTV shows Barley waiting in the garden (SWNS)

Judge Mrs Justice Carr said that Barley had gone to the house, and “lay in wait” in the garden before creeping inside the unlocked home, going upstairs and launching a “violent and sustained assault, involving severe force”.

The 24-year-old, sitting in the dock at Birmingham Crown Court on Wednesday, did not react when told he “may never be released”, after admitting two counts of murder and another of attempted murder.

The judge told Barley: “You abused your knowledge of the family home, which you had only gained through the Wilkinsons’ extraordinary kindness and generosity to you.

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“Mrs Wikinson and Pierce, only 13, were in bed at home, where they were entitled to feel and should have been safe.

“You have shown no remorse – indeed only regret that Mr Wilkinson survived his injuries and at times satisfaction in what you did achieve.

“You knew that you were destroying the family. It is what you intended.

It was clear this wasn’t a spontaneous decision (SWNS)
Barley attempted to escape in the family’s car before crashing (SWNS)

“Your conduct involved a very significant degree of planning and premeditation, at least so far as the attack on Mr Wilkinson was concerned.

“You broke into the grounds of the house in the very early hours. You emerged from the garden in black disguise, even covering your coloured trainers with black socks.”

The judge added: “The Wilkinson family, and in particular Mrs Wilkinson, had done nothing but their best to help you.

“Mr and Mrs Wilkinson were both financially and emotionally generous to you.

“You betrayed their trust in every way, exploiting the knowledge of their household.”

Tracey and Pierce Wilkinson were brutally stabbed to death by Barley (PA)

She said: “It is difficult to imagine what went through Mrs Wilkinson and Pierce’s minds when you attacked them but they must have been bewildered and terrified.

“One of them, at least, must have been aware of the stabbing of the other.”

The judge described the “chilling” security camera footage, recovered from the family home, showing him “crawling” on all fours around the Wilkinsons’ back garden moments before attacking.

Barley had been taken in by the family, after 50-year-old Mrs Wilkinson spotted him sleeping rough at a supermarket in the spring of 2016.

They helped the unemployed cannabis-smoker get accommodation, fed him, and paid for a mobile phone contract.

Barley before he committed the crime (SWNS)
Peter Wilkinson (2nd from right) holds hands with daughter Lydia, 19, as they arrive in court (SWNS)
Barley was taken in by the Wilkinson family to live in their home (SWNS)

Mr Wilkinson, 47, even got him a job at one of his businesses in Newport, south Wales but Barley left his role without notice after falsely claiming his mother had died.

He repaid them by stabbing them two of them to death.

Then, he waited for Mr Wilkinson to return home before attempting to murder him, too.

Mr Wilkinson managed to ring emergency services and spent six days in intensive care, where he received more than 100 stitches.

Barley was bought up in a foster home, after the death of his parents when he was young.

Even then, the home had reported concerns of his behaviour to police.

 

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