England

Double murder accused 'witnessed pensioner killings'

Cynthia Beamond Image copyright West Midlands Police
Image caption Cynthia Beamond was struck over the head with a saucepan by an intruder, Leo Barnes said

A man accused of murdering two pensioners in their homes has told his trial he was there when both victims were attacked but was not the killer.

Jurors have heard Leo Barnes murdered Cynthia Beamond, 80, from Halesowen, and Philip Silverstone, 67, of London, on consecutive days in June last year.

But Mr Barnes told the jury Mrs Beamond was killed by a gang of intruders.

And the murder of Mr Silverstone was committed by a Polish man Mr Barnes had just had sex with, the defendant said.

Mr Barnes, 33, of Balsall Heath in Birmingham, told the jury at Wolverhampton Crown Court that Mrs Beamond was hit over the head with a saucepan by an intruder who then ordered him to clean up a trail of blood.

'Three-way fight'

The defendant said he believed he had been followed to Mrs Beamond's home by three men who robbed him at gunpoint.

Mr Barnes, who denies two counts of murder, said he thought Mrs Beamond was still alive when he left her house.

The following day, Mr Barnes told the court, he drove to London, arriving at Mr Silverstone's flat in Belsize Park at about 23:00 BST.

He said Mr Silverstone was sitting with his wife and a Polish man.

The defendant claimed that he and the Polish man then went to a bedroom for sex but ended up having a fight.

Mr Silverstone then entered the bedroom and became embroiled in a "three-way fight", Mr Barnes told the court. The Polish man then hit the pensioner over the head with a car jack, the jury heard.

The defendant claimed he then left the flat, although when he made his exit, Mr Silverstone was "alive and fighting".

Jurors have heard that both of the murder victims knew Mr Barnes, and it was this "misfortune" that led to their deaths.

The trial continues.

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