Birmingham & Black Country

Aaron Barley: Sentence increased for mum and son killer

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Media captionMurderer Aaron Barley crept through his victims' garden

A homeless man who murdered a mother and son who took him in has had his jail sentence increased by the Court of Appeal.

Aaron Barley, 24, was jailed for life in October, with a minimum term of 30 years, for killing Tracey Wilkinson, 50, and her son Pierce, 13, at their home in Stourbridge, West Midlands.

He was also convicted of the attempted murder of Peter Wilkinson, 47.

He will now serve a minimum of 34 years and 178 days.

Image copyright West Midlands Police
Image caption Aaron Barley was taken in by the Wilkinson family after he was found sleeping rough

Barley stabbed Mrs Wilkinson six times in her bed in the March attack, before murdering her son Pierce in his room.

He then stabbed Peter Wilkinson a number of times as he returned from walking the family dog.

Barley was taken in by the family after Mrs Wilkinson found him sleeping rough outside a supermarket in 2016.

He told police his only regret was that he did not succeed in killing Mr Wilkinson.

Image copyright West Midlands Police
Image caption Tracey Wilkinson died at the family home in Stourbridge and her 13-year-old son Pierce died in hospital

Passing sentence in October, Mrs Justice Carr told Barley she did not impose a whole-life tariff "principally because of your youth".

But on Thursday, solicitor general Robert Buckland told the Court of Appeal that Barley's 30-year sentenced was insufficient in "this most exceptional and grave case".

Barley appeared via videolink from prison as it was agreed by three judges to increase his sentence.

Mr Wilkinson and his daughter Lydia, who had been away at university at the time of the attack, were in court.

Image caption Lydia Wilkinson told Barley "I will never forgive you" when he admitted the murders

Barley was described as a "deeply troubled" individual, who insisted that he just needed "a chance" when Mrs Wilkinson took him in.

By February, his relationship with the family who helped him and offered him work had deteriorated and he began taking drugs and acting unpredictably.

His motivation for the murders remains unknown.

"The Wilkinson family had gone out of their way to help him and he repaid their kindness with a brutal attack which devastated their family," Mr Buckland said after the hearing.

The murders, he said, were "truly despicable".

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