Man found guilty of murdering pensioner David Varlow he tied to chair and left to die

Lucy Kapasi reports on the killer who tied up his elderly victim.

A man has been found guilty of the murder of David Varlow, 78, who was tied to a chair using cable ties and a phone cord, and left to die at his West Midlands home.

Adris Mohammed, 44, of Icknield Port Road, Birmingham, broke into Mr Varlow's home on Manor Lane in Halesowen in the early hours of November 3 last year and found the pensioner awake.

Adris Mohammed Credit: West Midlands Police

Police say he tied up the elderly man, threatened him with a knife in order to get his pin number, and then stole his bank card, ransacking the house in the process.

The mess left in Mr Varlow's house after the break in. Credit: West Midlands Police

Before leaving the house, the court heard Mohammed cut the phone lines, to ensure Mr Varlow couldn't raise the alarm, and therefore prevent his spending spree.

He, and others who used the pensioner's card, went on to spend £8000 from his account.

Adris Mohammed caught on CCTV after the theft from Mr Varlow's house. Credit: West Midlands Police

Mr Varlow died from a heart attack brought on by the stress of the ordeal.

Police say Mohammed returned to Mr Varlow's house again nine days later with another man and untied him, knowing he was dead. They then stole a second bank card.

Mr Varlow was only found two weeks later when a neighbour who hadn't seen him for a while contacted police. He was surrounded by his ransacked belongings, and a knife lay next to his body.

Police have called it a "horrific attack" on an elderly man in his own home.

Adris Mohammed had denied all the charges against him but his DNA was found on the knife, scissors and cable left at the scene. He was found guilty of attempted burglary, aggravated burglary, murder, fraud and burglary.

Alleging that Mohammed aimed to withdraw as much money as possible using the stolen card, Prosecutor Mr Grieves-Smith told jurors that, “The plan would only work if David Varlow could not alert the police or the bank.

“He tied David Varlow to a chair in his living room in such a way he would never be able to free himself.

“It would have been obvious David Varlow was old and frail, but he didn’t care.

“In tying him up, Adris Mohammed either intended to kill him or to cause him really serious harm.”

Speaking to ITV Central his nieces Claire Day and Helen Louise Varlow, described how poignant it was during the trial to watch Mr Varlow's final trip to Asda to buy groceries.

"He was the kindest, gentlest soul you could ever meet. And he lived a very simple life, didn't care for expensive things. He was quite happy going about his daily routines.

"It was hard, so hard, but nice at the same time just seeing CCTV of him doing his little routine journey to Asda in Halesowen, seeing him for one last time was hard but nice.

"And you sometimes don't realise that a little journey to Asda might be the last one that you do.

"We can't think about it. The things we've heard in court, you just need to put them to the back of your mind. But it's horrible to think that happened to your family member.

"It's just cruel.

"It's hard at any time when you lose a friend or a family member, but to lose someone in these circumstances is just awful."

Sentencing will take place on May 25.