Belsize Park pensioner ‘knew brutal killer who murdered him in own home’ court hears

Police outside Spencer House in Belsize Park Gardens following the death of Philip Silverstone last

Police outside Spencer House in Belsize Park Gardens following the death of Philip Silverstone last June. Picture: Nigel Sutton - Credit: Nigel Sutton

Two pensioners who fell victim to “senseless” murders at their homes in Belsize Park and the West Midlands both knew their alleged killer, a court has heard.

Wolverhampton Crown Court was told today that Leo Barnes killed Philip Silverstone, 67, at his home in a block of supported flats in Belsize Park Gardens on June 28 last year.

The previous day Barnes is also alleged to have killed 80-year-old widow Cynthia Beamond at her house in Halesowen, near Birmingham.

Opening the case against Barnes, who denies two counts of murder, prosecutor Stephen Linehan QC told a jury that Mrs Beamond was found dead having suffered numerous head injuries.

The prosecutor said Barnes used a heavy object to kill Mrs Beamond and then travelled to Belsize Park where he killed Mr Silverstone.

Mr Linehan said: “This case is about the senseless and brutal murders of two entirely innocent people.

“They didn’t know each other - the only link between them was that at some stage in their lives they had had the misfortune to come into contact with the defendant, Leo Barnes, and he had got to know them and to know where they lived.

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“That is what led to their deaths.”

Barnes, 33, of Runcorn Road, Balsall Heath, Birmingham, is alleged to have stolen property including a television from the home of Mrs Beamond, who he had known since childhood.

Jurors were told that Barnes claims someone else carried out the killings.

His trial is expected to last for up to two weeks.

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