Burglar guilty of murdering Halesowen pensioner David Varlow

A callous burglar has been found guilty of murdering Halesowen pensioner David Varlow in his own home to plunder his savings.

David Varlow was murdered in his own home
David Varlow was murdered in his own home

Adris Mohammed repeatedly went to the 78-year-old's home, first attempting to burgle the premises, then a week later to break in and tie his victim up - leaving him for dead before returning to steal more of his belongings.

Mohammed, 44, of Icknield Port Road, Birmingham, was found guilty of murder at Birmingham Crown Court on Wednesday and guilty of attempted burglary, burglary and fraud.

There were gasps from members of Mr Varlow's family in the the public gallery when the murder verdict was read out by the jury foreman.

Mohammed was emotionless when the verdict was read out.

Adris Mohammed murdered David Varlow

His DNA was found on a knife recovered by detectives and other items found inside the house, on items including a phone.

O'Shay Swan, 42, of Winson Green Road, Birmingham, was found guilty of burglary and fraud concerning Mr Varlow's bank card.

O'Shay Swan visited Varlow's house is Mohammed

In a statement, Mr Varlow's family said: "David was a 78-year-old disabled pensioner and much loved brother, brother in law and uncle.

"Words cannot adequately describe our relief that the jury have today found Adris Mohammed guilty of murder, burglary and fraud. And for this verdict we thank the jury. However, this will not bring David back.

"We would like to thank our prosecution barrister Mr Peter Grieves-Smith for presenting such a strong prosecution case."

He added: "Justice has been done for David but we will never forget nor ever forgive the man who did this terrible thing. No punishment could ever be enough for what he has done. Nobody deserved to die alone the way David did.

"We would like to thank the residents of Halesowen who supported the police in providing witness statements and CCTV footage which were used during the trial.

"Finally, we would also like to thank West Midlands Police, in particular DC Martin Peart, our family liaison officer, DI Sangha, DS Lyons, and DC Lynn Robb, along with all the other officers that were involved in this highly complex murder investigation.

Mohammed and Swan frequented drug dens in Edgbaston and recruited other addicts to withdraw cash and buy items with Mr Varlow's cards.

The pensioner - who had phoned police officers after the first attempted burglary - was tied up, thrown on the floor and left to die. He had a heart attack while bound and died.

After draining one bank card of nearly £10,000 thanks to torturing Mr Varlow for his pin number, the pair returned to the house, tip-toeing around the dead body to remove another bank card from the property.

West Midlands Police pieced together CCTV footage from shop cameras, public transport cameras and videos from residents' doorbell cameras to show when Mohammed and Swan visited Mr Varlow's home.

Using cell phone mast data the police also showed where the mobile phones of the two defendants had travelled to.

Det Insp Ranj Sangha, who led the investigation, said: “Mr Varlow suffered an appalling ordeal, being tied up and essentially left for dead by a man who’s only interest was to steal from him.

"We believe that Mohammed returned to Mr Varlow’s house for a third and final time, knowing that he was either still tied up or dead.

"But instead of doing the right thing and calling for help, he went on to steal from him again, with Swan going along to help.

"Thankfully, burglaries involving this level of violence are rare, but that will come as little comfort to Mr Varlow’s family. I hope that the verdicts today will at least give his family some comfort that we have been able to get justice from him.”

Sentencing will take place next Wednesday.

Judge Melbourne Inman said: "There is a minimum life sentence for murder."

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