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Brave Lydia in emotional visit to site of mum and brother's murder

By Matthew Cooper

A student whose mother and 13-year-old brother died after being stabbed at their family home has visited the scene to lay flowers in their memory.

Lydia Wilkinson was comforted by her boyfriend and his parents as she read dozens of cards on floral tributes left by friends of her mother Tracey and brother Pierce.

The 18-year-old, a student at Bristol University, crouched down as she looked at flowers laid on the pavement and against walls on both sides of a police tent that remains outside her home in Stourbridge, West Midlands.

After her visit yesterday morning, Lydia issued a statement paying tribute to Tracey and Pierce. It confirmed that the man accused of their murders, Aaron Barley, had been helped by the family in the past year.

The statement read: "Our family is devastated at the loss of Tracey and Pierce. They were extremely loved by all of their family and friends.

"Pierce was a fun-loving, friendly and happy boy, who loved computer games and made everyone smile.

"Tracey was loving, caring and a wonderful mother and daughter. Always putting others before herself.

"The family did not provide refuge for homeless people and Aaron Barley had never lived at the family home, but had been assisted by the family in the past 12 months.

"We would like to express our gratitude to the emergency services, and to thank hospital staff for their excellent care.

"We would appreciate privacy and respect during this distressing time."

Mrs Wilkinson (50) was pronounced dead at her home in Greyhound Lane, Stourbridge, after suffering stab injuries, while her son died after being taken to hospital.

Barley, of no fixed address, is accused of the murders of Pierce and Mrs Wilkinson, and the attempted murder of her husband Peter. The 23-year-old was not asked to enter pleas when he appeared before magistrates in Birmingham on Saturday.

The alleged double-killer spoke only once during a six-minute hearing at Birmingham Magistrates Court after the court clerk asked him to give his name and address.

During the hearing, Barley, who was remanded in custody, was handcuffed to one of the dock officers. There was no application for bail.

Barley had his right arm in a sling and is due to appear at the city's Crown Court today.

Stephen Dunster, of Stourbridge's Redhill School, described Pierce as "a loyal, caring and conscientious pupil who will be sadly missed by all members of our school community".

"He always met everyone with a smile and was a kind and thoughtful young man," he said on Friday.

"He was passionate about his football team, West Bromwich Albion, and was devoted to his pet greyhound."

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