‘Drunk bully’ jailed for life for kicking gran, 71, to death who mistook his home for her B&B
David Redfern refused to call an ambulance and called the pensioner a “thieving c***” as she lay dying on the street.
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A “drunk bully” has been jailed for life for stamping an elderly woman to death, after she mistook his home for her B&B and slept in his bed.
Grandmother Margaret Barnes, 71, mistook David Redfern’s five-storey townhouse in the Welsh seaside town of Barmouth for her own holiday accommadation in July 2022. Redfern told Caernarfon Crown Court he and his fiancee, Nicola Learoyd-Lewis, discovered Mrs Barnes “lying in our bed, drinking and smoking” with her false teeth on a table
After an argument about whose room it was, the court heard that Redfern - who’d drunk six or seven pints and a gin and tonic - dragged her downstairs by her ankles. Michael Jones KC, prosecuting, said Redfern, 46, launched an “utterly gratuitous” late-night attack on Mrs Barnes, forcefully kicking and stamping on her.
A Home Office pathologist Dr Brian Rodgers said caused “deep tearing” of her liver, broken ribs and internal bleeding, and the damage “wasn’t survivable”. Redfern, of Barmouth, Gwynedd, had refused to call an ambulance, and witnesses heard him carry on swearing at Mrs Barnes.
Redfern denied murder or manslaughter, but the jury took 14 hours and 30 minutes to convict him of murder on 29 March. Today, 31 March, Mr Justice Bourne sentenced him to life imprisonment, with minimum of 14 years.
Det Supt Mark Pierce said: “We welcome today’s life sentence for David Redfern for the brutal murder of Margaret Barnes. During a two-week trial Redfern showed no remorse, attempted to blame Margaret for his actions and subjected her family to the trauma of a two-week trial where details of the event were explored in graphic detail. How a 21 stone, 6’1’’ man could have inflicted such catastrophic injuries on a frail, 71-year-old lady, 25 years his senior, is beyond the comprehension of any reasonable person.
“David Redfern is a cowardly, vicious bully and will now spend at least 14 years behind bars where he can reflect on what he has done. In stark contrast, Margaret’s family have displayed tremendous courage and dignity throughout the investigation and during the court proceedings. They can now start to re-build their lives as they begin to move forward.”
Opening the “bizarre” case, Mr Jones said Redfern was a 21-stone 6ft one “angry bully” with anger issues. He had dragged Mrs Barnes, a retired factory worker from Birmingham, down stairs by her ankles after finding her in his bed. Mr Jones said he had launched an “gratuitous” attack stamping and kicking 5ft 5 and seven-and-a-half stone Mrs Barnes.
Redfern, a former London chef who’d drunk six or seven pints and a gin and tonic, had claimed Mrs Barnes became “agitated” when he made a 999 call to police. Questioned by his barrister Mark Cotter KC, Redfern described how he and his fiancée Nicola had discovered Mrs Barnes in their bedroom.
“I walked in the bedroom first followed by Nicky who then walked past me - there was a lady lying in our bed, drinking and smoking,” he told the court. “She was sitting up with pillows propped up. She had a bottle of gin. She had a glass in her hand.”
Redfern said there was a black travel case open on the floor and clothes hanging up and strewn around the room. He believed the pensioner was drunk. “The gist of the conversation is ’who the hell are you, what the f— are you doing in our bed?’,” Redfern told the jury. Mrs Barnes replied that it was her room.
“An intruder in our bedroom, in our bed, I just wanted the police to turn up and remove her,” he declared. The conversation had been “amicable” at first but the atmosphere changed. “Mrs Barnes became agitated that the police had been called and I believe she further demanded we get out of “her” room.
Redfern claimed Mrs Barnes “made a lunging gesture towards Nicky” with her arms outstretched and he stepped in-between them. The defendant said he started guiding the pensioner towards the door. “It wasn’t a violent move,” he insisted.
However, he had been pulled off balance and they both fell to the floor, he claimed. “I fell directly on top of Mrs Barnes. At no point have I ever had full recollection of the mechanics of that fall.” This all happened so incredibly quickly.”
His partner’s version of events wasn’t heard during the trial. But a Hive camera recording captured her telling the furious brute: “Don’t treat her like that.” Redfern at one stage declared on the recording outside Belmont House: “I’m sorry for kicking her in the ribs and dragging her down the stairs.”
It was heard that Redfern called the dying pensioner a “thieving c***” and a witness described him ranting like a “raving lunatic.” He accepted he made “appalling” comments. The prosecution said he’d made “heartless” comments and was “demeaning” towards her. Among her last words were “beat up.”
Mrs Barnes’s family said after the trial: “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.”