Burglar who tied pensioner, 78, to a chair and left him to die is jailed for life 

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Serial burglar Adris Mohammed has been sentenced to a minimum term of 33 years for the murder of a pensioner who was tied up and left to die


A serial burglar who tied a pensioner to a chair with telephone wire and left him to die has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 33 years

Adris Mohammed, 44, broke into the home of 78-year-old David Varlow in Halesowen, West Midlands, in the early hours of November 3 last year.

A court heard the thug tied Mr Varlow’s ankles and wrists to a chair with cable ties and a telephone cable before threatening him with a knife for his PIN number.

Mohammed then ransacked the house before stealing the OAP’s bank cards and going on a £550 spending spree.

He then returned to Mr Varlow’s home at around midnight on November 11 with a second man, O’Shea Swan. There, they would have seen Mr Varlow was dead and they untied him before stealing a second bank card.

A trawl of CCTV uncovered footage of Mohammed withdrawing cash minutes after the burglary which killed Mr Varlow. He was also captured on camera selling a gold bangle at Cash Convertors in Stafford. The bangle had been bought by a friend of Mohammed’s using Mr Varlow’s card, and Mohammed wanted to turn the purchase into cash by selling it.

Mr Varlow’s body was discovered by police on November 15 after neighbours raised concerns they had not seen him for some time.

It was later found the vulnerable pensioner, who lived alone, had died from a heart attack brought on by the stress of his ordeal.

Prosecutors said Mohammed knew Mr Varlow had died alone and had not been able to free himself because his stolen bank card had not been cancelled.

Post-mortem tests were unable to establish when Mr Varlow died, but he is thought to have suffered a stress-induced heart attack at his home.

Mohammed, 44, waited nine days before returning to David Varlow's home in Halesowen, West Midlands

Mohammed, 44, waited nine days before returning to David Varlow's home in Halesowen, West Midlands

Mohammed, 44, waited nine days before returning to David Varlow’s home in Halesowen, West Midlands

Adris Mohammed pawning goods. Mohammed has now been sentenced to life with a minimum term of 33 years for the murder

Adris Mohammed pawning goods. Mohammed has now been sentenced to life with a minimum term of 33 years for the murder

Adris Mohammed pawning goods. Mohammed has now been sentenced to life with a minimum term of 33 years for the murder

Jailing Mohammed on Thursday at Birmingham Crown Court, Judge Melbourne Inman QC said the murder in November last year could ‘only properly be described as an horrific case’.

Mohammed has now been sentenced to life with a minimum term of 33 years for the murder. 

The judge ruled that Mohammed had intended to kill, telling the drug user: ‘What neither the pathology nor any other evidence can show is when Mr Varlow died between the 3rd of November and the 11th of November.

‘The harsh reality is that it is not known whether he survived for hours or days. The major aggravating factor is the terrible nature of this killing and the suffering of Mr Varlow, left as he was.

‘Having seen you give evidence it’s clear you have not a shred of remorse. You knew Mr Varlow would be at home and when you confronted him you set about a deliberate and calculated course of action in tying him in the way you did.

‘You intended to kill him by leaving him immobile without food or water. It is to be hoped Mr Varlow did suffer his heart attack quickly, but the seriousness of the offence is increased by the suffering that you intended.’

The court heard that Mr Varlow lived on his own and that Mohammed tried unsuccessfully to burgle the home on October 24 but Mr Varlow dialled 999. He returned to the area the next day and failed to get in another property after claiming he had been mugged.

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Peter Grieves-Smith QC, prosecuting, said: “He did go back to Halesowen on November 3. On this occasion he got inside the house. Having got inside he stole a Barclays Bank card. His plan was to withdraw as much money as he could.”

Mohammed used the card to withdraw £250 from the victim’s account which had a balance of £19,000 and Mr Grieves-Smith said: “To have done that he must have known the pin and Mr Varlow must have been forced to divulge it. He did not do it of his own free will. He must have been terrified.

“The plan would only work if Mr Varlow did not alert the police. He tied him to a chair in such a way he would not be able to free himself.

“He was old and frail but he (Mohammed) did not care.”

Mohammed had rendered his victim ‘utterly helpless and in a position that would have been very difficult even for a short time for anyone’ let alone an elderly man, Judge Inman said.

The judge said Mohammed had mounted an ‘absurd’ defence, and added: ‘Mr Varlow must have been terrified. He must have pleading with you not to leave him in that position.

‘That is because Mr Varlow knew that no one would know he was there for a very long time, his brother would not call for nearly two weeks, and that he would die. That is what you intended.

‘You left him helpless, without any way of getting food or water, with the curtains closed, and you left. You knew it would take a considerable time to empty his bank account without alerting the bank and you ensured Mr Varlow would never be able to alert them.’

Mohammed, who used telephone wire to tie up Mr Varlow, was found guilty last month of murder, attempted burglary and two counts each of fraud and burglary.

The killer, from Birmingham, denied any involvement in the death, claiming someone else had asked him to take part in removal work.

Mohammed is then believed to have used a knife to force Mr Varlow to reveal his PIN, aiming to withdraw as much money as possible from an account holding £19,000.

As well as allowing others to use the stolen card to withdraw thousands of pounds, Mohammed used the card himself to steal £550, enabling him to buy a bangle which he pawned in Stafford.

The body of Mr Varlow, who was 5ft 6in, was found on the floor close to a discarded knife – with his untied arms ‘almost crossed’ behind his back.

Computer-generated images of Mr Varlow’s body and his living room were presented to the jury, showing his ankles with bands of injuries consistent with ligatures.

There were also binding marks to both wrists and ankles, with evidence of two separate wrappings around his arms.

Co-defendant O’Shay Swan, 42, of Winson Green Road, Birmingham, was jailed for six years for burglary and fraud after going with Mohammed to Manor Lane on November 11-12, and being involved in using Mr Varlow’s bank card.



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