Advanced Search

The Role of The Crown Prosecution Service

The Crown Prosecution Service is the government department responsible for prosecuting criminal cases investigated by the police in England and Wales.

As the principal prosecuting authority in England and Wales, we are responsible for:

  • advising the police on cases for possible prosecution
  • reviewing cases submitted by the police
  • determining any charges in more serious or complex cases
  • preparing cases for court
  • presenting cases at court

Find out more about the role of the Crown Prosecution Service

Man jailed for life for the murder of mother and son


A 24-year-old homeless man has today been sentenced to life imprisonment at Birmingham Crown Court after he pleaded guilty to the murder of a mother and son at their family home in Stourbridge. He will serve a minimum of 29½ years in prison.

Aaron Barley had met Tracey Wilkinson, when he was sleeping rough in Stourbridge and she invited him to stay at the family home.

Peter Wilkinson, Tracey's husband, also made efforts to assist Barley by giving him a job with his building firm and paying for his mobile phone contract.

When the defendant failed to attend work on a number of occasions, his employment was terminated. In late March 2017, after a number of weeks had passed without any contact from Barley, Mr Wilkinson decided to cancel his phone contract.

On 29 March 2017 the defendant had been drinking all evening and made his way to the Wilkinson's address in Greyhound Lane. He attempted to break into the property through one of the windows. When this failed, he waited in the shed until Mr Wilkinson left to walk the dog in the morning.

Barley then entered the address through the unlocked back door and made his way upstairs where he stabbed Mrs Wilkinson to death in her bedroom and then stabbed Pierce Wilkinson, 13, on the landing.

When Mr Wilkinson returned, he was met at the back door by Barley who attacked him with a large knife. The victim received several life-threatening injuries, but was able to call the emergency services. In the meantime Barley drove off in the family's car.

Pierce was taken to hospital but later died.

Barley was caught by police after he lost control of the stolen car and collided with a garden wall.

The defendant pleaded guilty to the murder of Tracey and Pierce Wilkinson and the attempted murder of Peter Wilkinson on 3 October 2017.

Ian Crooks from the CPS said:

"Aaron Barley carried out a brutal attack on his victims who had shown nothing other than the utmost kindness and consideration to him over a number of years.

"In return for their support and kindness, Barley waited for the opportunity to gain access to the family home before fatally stabbing Tracey and Pierce and then also stabbing Peter Wilkinson several times.

"Our thoughts are with the Wilkinson family and their friends."


Notes to Editors

  1. Ian Crooks is a Senior Crown Prosecutor with West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service
  2. For the murders Barley was sentenced to life with minimum term of 29 years 178 days.
  3. For the attempted murder he was sentenced to life with minimum term 9 years 178 days. The sentences are concurrent.
  4. For the latest in breaking news from the CPS Press Office follow @cpsuk on Twitter and visit our official News Brief -
  5. For media enquiries call the CPS Press Office on 020 3357 0906. Out of Hours - 07590 617233