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Man found guilty of killing pensioner at his home

|News, Violent crime

A man has been convicted of the murder of a pensioner who died of a heart attack after being tied to his chair during a break-in at his home last November.

Adris Mohammed, 44, of Icknield Port Road, Ladywood, was found guilty today (18 May 2022) of killing 78-year-old David Varlow following a three-week trial at Birmingham Crown Court.

Mohammed was also convicted of fraud and burglary, while his co-defendant, O’Shay Swan, 42, of Winson Green Road, Birmingham was convicted of burglary and fraud.

The court heard that Mohammed, an experienced burglar, went to Mr Varlow’s home on three occasions to burgle him in October and November last year.

In the first of the three burglaries, Mohammed smashed a window to access Mr Varlow’s property on 24 October 2021 but fled when Mr Varlow called the police.

He returned a second time on 3 November 2021, when he forced Mr Varlow to divulge his bank card pin and then tied him to a chair in his living room and left him to die.

Mr Varlow died from a stress-induced heart attack while he was tied up.

Mohammed returned to the property again between 11 to 12 November 2021 with O’Shay Swan, when he was certain Mr Varlow would be dead, to see if there was anything worth stealing. While at the property, the defendants stole an expired bank card and untied the now-deceased Mr Varlow.

Mr Varlow was discovered five days later when police forced entry because his brother could not contact him.

The prosecution case is that Mohammed either intended to kill Mr Varlow or cause him really serious harm when he tied the elderly and frail Mr Varlow in such a way that he would never be able to free himself.

Telephone and CCTV evidence proved that Adris Mohammed travelled over five miles from Birmingham to Manor Lane, Halesowen on 24 October 2021, 3 November 2021 and 11 to 12 November 2021.

On 26 October 2021, Mohammed was caught on the doorbell camera of a house elsewhere in Halesowen. He was claiming to the occupants that he had been attacked so that they would unlock the door and he could steal from them.  When they declined to open the door and instead called the police, Mohammed left the area.

The phone evidence, in conjunction with CCTV evidence, demonstrated Mohammed’s movement, on foot and by bus, to the Manor Lane area. Also, he was found to be in possession of Mr Varlow’s bank card shortly after the burglary. His DNA was found on a knife that was recovered at the property, from telephone cable used to tie Mr Varlow to the chair, and from a pair of scissors found  inside Mr Varlow’s house.

Although Mohammed admitted travelling to the Manor Lane area as alleged, he denied entering Mr Varlow’s home or tying him to a chair. However, the jury convicted him of all offences.

James Leslie Francis of the CPS said: “This was an appalling case of violence against a vulnerable and elderly man in his own home. Adris Mohammed targeted Mr Varlow for personal gain and his selfish and cruel actions led to Mr Varlow’s death. Rather than take responsibility for his actions, he denied any wrongdoing and put Mr Varlow’s family through the trauma of a trial. The jury saw through his lies and convicted him of killing Mr Varlow. I hope this conviction brings some measure of comfort and closure to Mr Varlow’s family.”

Notes to editors

  • James Leslie Francis is a District Crown Prosecutor for CPS West Midlands.

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