Pensioner who mistook house for B&B died after being 'dragged outside by ankles and stamped on'

Margaret Barnes is said to have suffered injuries similar to those in a "high speed road traffic collision." Credit: Media Wales

A 71-year-old woman who mistook a seafront house for a B&B was dragged down the stairs by her ankles and stamped on by the owner, a court has heard.

Margaret Barnes from Birmingham had been visiting friends in Barmouth last summer when she wandered into the wrong property and suffered "catastrophic" injuries similar to those expected in a "high speed road traffic collision."

The pensioner, who was a retired factory worker of Baldwins Lane, died shortly afterwards, the jury at Caernarfon Crown Court has been told.

David Redfern, 46, allegedly discovered Mrs Barnes, who had got into bed in one of the bedrooms of his home. The pensioner was said to be partly clothed and intoxicated.

Redfern, who is 6ft 1in tall and weighs 21 stone, has "self-confessed" anger management issues, according to prosecutor Michael Jones KC as he opened the Crown's case.

Redfern has denied murdering Mrs Barnes outside his home in Marine Parade, Barmouth on 11 July last year.

The court heard that during her visit to Barmouth last summer Mrs Barnes, had been at another B&B but on 10 July she went to an ice cream parlour, Mermaid Fish and Chips and a Spar shop.

There she bought some gin and at about 10pm she walked towards the Wavecrest B&B, pulling her small suitcase on wheels and carrying her handbag. However she ended up in Belmont House, a large five storey townhouse, which was on the same side of the street, but several doors down from the Wavecrest.

Belmont House, on Marine Parade, was being renovated by Redfern and his partner Nicola Learoyd-Lewis.

Mr Jones said: "Mrs Barnes had been drinking and, whether she thought this was the Wavecrest, she went in and went to bed. She mistook the defendant's address for the B&B but it was a mistake which ultimately cost her her life."

She is said to have gone into an upstairs bedroom, took out her false teeth and poured a gin into a glass while holding a bottle of tonic.

The prosecution claim that when Redfern and Ms Leroyd-Lewis came in they found the "frail" pensioner there "semi-naked on the side of the bed" with her belongings strewn across the flood in a mess.

The court heard Redfern dragged the seven-and-a-half-stone woman downstairs by her ankles and stamped on her outside.

Her suitcase had been hurled onto the street and he is alleged to have mocked the injured woman as she tried to gather her possessions while on her hands and knees. However Redfern has told officers he didn't know who had thrown the suitcase.

Emergency services were called and a neighbour was told to perform CPR, but Mrs Barnes is said to have developed breathing difficulties and succumbed to her injuries.

The prosecution admits it was "obviously surprising" for Redfern to find a frail, old woman in one of his beds but "what followed next was appalling."

Mr Jones said: "However unexpected her presence was, Mrs Barnes sustained "catastrophic, fatal and brutal injuries at the hands of the defendant" who is a "bully".

Home Office pathologist Dr Brian Rodgers found Mrs Barnes died from severe blunt force trauma. She had rib fractures and a fractured neck, consistent with being dragged down the stairs, say the prosecution.

The prosecutor said a kick or stamp outside the Belmont House caused a ruptured liver. The injuries were consistent with those from a "high speed road traffic collision", he added.

Mr Jones said the defendant had used "vicious and intentional violence and language" and by acting out of temper or gratuitously was guilty of her murder.

However Redfern claims Mrs Barnes had "lunged" towards his girlfriend in the bedroom and he intervened because he thought his girlfriend was in "danger", by "bear hugging" Mrs Barnes off the premises.

Redfern has denied both murder and manslaughter.  The trial continues.