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Homeless man who murdered Good Samaritan mother and son jailed for 30 years

Aaron Barley repeatedly knifed defenceless Tracey Wilkinson in bed and then stabbed her son Pierce eight times.

A homeless drug-user who brutally murdered a woman and her 13-year-old son in a frenzied knife attack after she had tried to help him has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 30 years.

Aaron Barley dressed in black and armed himself with a kitchen knife when he crept inside the Wilkinson family’s home in Stourbridge, West Midlands, on March 30.

In the violent attack that followed, Barley repeatedly knifed defenceless Tracey Wilkinson in bed 17 times and stabbed her son Pierce in his room eight times.

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Tracey Wilkinson, who was killed by homeless Aaron Barley along with 13-year-old son Pierce at their home in Stourbridge after her family gave him help (West Midlands Police/PA)

Barley, who also left Mrs Wilkinson’s husband Peter for dead in the assault, was sentenced on Wednesday by a High Court judge at Birmingham Crown Court.

Jailing Barley, Mrs Justice Carr told Barley he had carried out “a vicious and unprovoked attack” in the home where he had once been welcomed.

She added that he had gone to the house, and “lay in wait” in the garden before creeping inside the unlocked home, going upstairs and launching a “violent and sustained assault, involving severe force”.

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Pierce Wilkinson (West Midlands Police/PA)

The 24-year-old, sitting in the dock at Birmingham Crown Court on Wednesday, did not react when told he “may never be released”, after admitting two counts of murder and another of attempted murder.

The judge told Barley: “You abused your knowledge of the family home, which you had only gained through the Wilkinsons’ extraordinary kindness and generosity to you.

“Mrs Wikinson and Pierce, only 13, were in bed at home, where they were entitled to feel and should have been safe.

“You have shown no remorse – indeed only regret that Mr Wilkinson survived his injuries and at times satisfaction in what you did achieve.

“You knew that you were destroying the family. It is what you intended. Your conduct involved a very significant degree of planning and premeditation, at least so far as the attack on Mr Wilkinson was concerned.

“You broke into the grounds of the house in the very early hours. You emerged from the garden in black disguise, even covering your coloured trainers with black socks.

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Aaron Barley hiding in the garden of the Wilkinsons' home in Stourbridge before entering their house and murdering Tracey Wilkinson and her son Pierce (CCTV/West Midlands Police/PA)

“The Wilkinson family, and in particular Mrs Wilkinson, had done nothing but their best to help you. Mr and Mrs Wilkinson were both financially and emotionally generous to you. You betrayed their trust in every way, exploiting the knowledge of their household.

“It is difficult to imagine what went through Mrs Wilkinson and Pierce’s minds when you attacked them but they must have been bewildered and terrified. One of them, at least, must have been aware of the stabbing of the other.”

Barley had been taken in by the family, after 50-year-old Mrs Wilkinson spotted him sleeping rough at a supermarket in the spring of 2016. They helped the unemployed cannabis-smoker get accommodation, fed him, and paid for a mobile phone contract.

Mr Wilkinson, 47, even got him a job at one of his businesses in Newport, south Wales.

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Husband Peter Wilkinson, who survived the attack, and daughter Lydia (Aaron Chown/PA)

But Barley left his role without notice after falsely claiming his mother had died.

In October last year, Mr Wilkinson returned home from work to find Barley sleeping on his driveway, after which the family briefly allowed him to stay with them before the council found alternative housing.

Less than a week before the stabbings, the Wilkinsons cancelled the mobile phone contract.

The judge then described the “chilling” security camera footage, recovered from the family home, showing Barley “crawling” on all fours around the Wilkinsons’ back garden moments before attacking.

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