UK

Aaron Barley, Homeless Man Who Murdered Tracey And Pierce Wilkinson At Their Home, Jailed For 30 Years

Chilling footage emerged of the moments before the attack.

04/10/2017 14:15 BST | Updated 04/10/2017 14:15 BST

A homeless man who murdered a woman and her 13-yer-old son at their home after the family tried to help him has been jailed for life with a minimum of 30 years.

Drug-user Aaron Barley stabbed Tracey Wilkinson in bed 17 times and stabbed her son Pierce in his room eight times.

He pleaded guilty to the murders on the first day of his trial on Tuesday and was sentenced on Wednesday.

PA Archive/PA Images
Court artist sketch of Aaron Barley (right) who murdered Tracey and Pierce Wilkinson at their home.

Barley, 24, 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.

He also stabbed Wilkinson’s husband Peter six times during the attack, leaving him for dead.

Jailing the murderer at Birmingham Crown Court today, Mrs Justice Carr said Barley had carried out “a vicious and unprovoked attack” in the home where he had once been welcomed.

She added that he 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”.

Tracey Wilkinson was stabbed 17 times in her home as she lay in bed

Barley, 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.

“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.

Pierce Wilkinson died after being stabbed eight times

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

“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 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.

“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.”

PA Wire/PA Images
Peter Wilkinson leaves Birmingham Crown Court with his daughter Lydia, after Barley admitted murdering this wife, Tracey, and 13-year-old son, Pierce

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

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

Peter 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.

In October last year, Wilkinson returned home from work to find Barley sleeping on his driveway, after which the family briefly allowed him to stay with them before the council found alternative housing.

Less than a week before the stabbings, the Wilkinsons cancelled Barley’s mobile phone contract.

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