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Liverpool Echo
Liverpool Echo
David Powell & Kate Lally

Woman, 71, kicked to death after mistaking man's home for a B&B

A man kicked an elderly woman to death after she mistook his house for the B&B she was staying at.

David Redfern, 46, refused to call an ambulance as frail Margaret Barnes lay dying outside his five-storey townhouse in North Wales last July.

Redfern had denied murder or manslaughter, but a jury at Caernarfon Crown Court took 14 hours and 30 minutes to convict him of murder. Adjourning sentencing until Friday, Mr Justice Bourne told him: ”You are remanded in custody.

READ MORE: Woman dies after falling from city centre car park

"You have been advised what the sentencing decision will be.” His task was to decide the minimum term before parole may be considered.

The trial had heard Redfern was understandably surprised that intoxicated Mrs Barnes mistook his home for her B&B but acted out of all proportion in dragging her outside by her ankles. He claimed he then intervened between his fiancée and Mrs Barnes by making a "footballer's sideways block", but tripped and fell onto and over her.

North Wales Live reports the prosecution claimed IT worker Redfern, who is six feet one inch tall and weighed 21 stone, had deliberately and forcefully kicked or stamped on Mrs Barnes on Marine Parade, Barmouth, in an “unjustified and gratuitous” attack. Mrs Barnes, who was "frail" and weighed seven and a half stone, had been visiting friends in the area on July 11 of last year.

Home Office pathologist Dr Brian Rodgers found she had suffered blunt force trauma. She had a neck and rib fractures and a ruptured liver, triggering a bleed of a litre of fresh blood. The "deep tearing" of her liver wasn't survivable, he said.

In his closing speech, prosecutor Michael Jones KC added that Margaret Barnes, of Birmingham, died at Barmouth in Gwynedd last July because of the "violent and cruel" actions of Redfern. The barrister said Mrs Barnes had had the misfortune of entering the wrong building and encountering a 6ft 1 man with anger issues.

She’d been found in his bed.

In his closing speech Mr Jones said: "What the defendant did to Mrs Barnes was out of all proportion to the situation". When she was dying outside his home, Redfern had “mocked and demeaned” her, he said.

Mr Jones described it as a "bizarre" case in which a mistake by Mrs Barnes cost her her life. Redfern, he said, had sought to portray Mrs Barnes as an aggressor.

But Redfern accepted in his evidence making “heartless” comments that night. A security camera had recorded him.

Mr Jones declared: "He’s the type of man who wouldn’t think twice about kicking or stamping on Mrs Barnes in temper." Lynn Hynes, a neighbour at Barmouth, had said Redfern hadn’t mentioned falling on Mrs Barnes on the night.

Redfern had said the defence case is the bruising, broken ribs and fatal damage to the liver were caused by the defendant, 6ft one and 21 stone, falling on Margaret Barnes, impacting that area of her body with his knee or knees. Mr Cotter said Redfern’s “inappropriate” comments and “crass” attempts at humour that night didn‘t make him guilty of murder.

“There’s nothing in his past to suggest he’s somebody who has a disposition towards violence,” counsel also argued.

Mrs Barnes’ family said today: “Margaret, who was a much-loved wife, mother and grandmother has now been gone for eight months. As a family it has been the hardest time of our lives.

"It has been especially difficult for Margaret’s husband who had been her partner for 56 years. We now have some sort of closure on what has happened, however, no length of sentence will ever fill the void that Margaret has left behind.

"As a family we would like to thank the police for their hard work in putting the case together."

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