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Mass killer Harry Street - who shot dead five people - dies in hospital

Sandwell | News | Published:

The man who shot five people dead in a 1978 killing spree has died in hospital.

Barry Williams, who later changed his name to Harry Street, died on Christmas Eve after being taken ill at Ashworth Hospital where he was being held.

On October 26, 1978, he had run amok with two pistols in Andrew Road, West Bromwich, killing his neighbours George Burkitt, 49, Burkitt's wife Iris, 48, and their son Philip, 20. Their daughter Jill, 17 at the time, was shot eight times but survived her injuries.

Judy Chambers, another neighbour of Street's, was also seriously wounded.

The killer sprayed the street with bullets and hurled a makeshift bomb that did not explode as he fled in his Ford Capri, later shooting dead shop owner Michel Di Maria and his wife, Lisa, at their convenience store in Nuneaton, before being cornered and arrested in Bakewell, Derbyshire, after a 100mph police chase.

He pleaded guilty to five charges of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility and was ordered to be detained indefinitely.

He spent time in the Broadmoor secure hospital and was judged safe to release in July 1993. Williams changed his name to Harry Street, was prescribed anti-psychotic drugs for his schizophrenia, met wife-to-be Beverley and returned to the West Midlands. He was living in Hazelville Road, Hall Green when he began harassing his neighbours there.

When police arrested him, they found a cache of six guns, dozens of home-made bullets and a makeshift bomb.

Street admitted possessing the improvised explosive device as his trial was due to begin, and had previously pleaded guilty at previous hearings to three charges of possessing a prohibited firearm and a count of putting a neighbour in fear of violence between 2009 and 2013.

Street, aged 70 when he appeared in court earlier this year, was being treated at high-security Ashworth Hospital on Merseyside up until his death.

Neil Smith, spokesman for the Mersey Care NHS Trust, said a patient in long-term care at Ashworth Hospital was admitted to a general hospital and died at 9:49am on Christmas Eve.

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