Barmouth: David Redfern jailed for fatal attack on Birmingham pensioner who mistook house for B&B

  • Watch as the judge describes the sentence he is imposing on David Redfern

A man described as a "21 stone bully" who used his "foot as a weapon" when he killed a 71-year-old pensioner after she mistook his home for a B&B has been jailed.

David Redfern, 46, from Barmouth in Gwynedd launched a fatal attack on Margaret Barnes after finding the 71-year-old in his bed in July 2022.

Redfern dragged Mrs Barnes, who had been visiting Barmouth from her home in Birmingham, downstairs by her ankles after finding her and kicked and stamped on her during the attack.

He refused to call an ambulance as Mrs Barnes lay dying outside his five-storey townhouse.

Margaret Barnes suffered injuries similar to those expected in a "high speed road traffic collision" Credit: North Wales Police/family photo

Mrs Barnes, a retired factory worker from Birmingham, had been visiting friends in Barmouth last summer when she wandered into the wrong property.

At about 10pm on 11 July, Mrs Barnes walked towards the Wavecrest B&B where she was meant to stay.

  • The moment Margaret Barnes walked up to the outside of the house

However, she ended up in Redfern's house, which was on the same side of the street but several doors down from the Wavecrest.

The court heard Redfern contacted police and asked them to send someone to remove Mrs Barnes from his house.

The judge said after that, things went "terribly wrong" and there was "some sort of confrontation".

During the trial, Redfern was described as a "21-stone 6ft 1 bully with anger issues", who had launched an "utterly gratuitous" late-night attack on the retired factory worker.

Mrs Barnes suffered catastrophic injuries similar to those expected in a high speed road traffic collision with broken ribs and internal bleeding.

Home Office pathologist Dr Brian Rodgers said the "degree of liver damage [she suffered] wasn’t survivable."

The “much-loved” wife, mother and grandmother died on the pavement outside, the court heard.

Redfern was found guilty at Caernarfon Crown Court on 29 March, having denied murder or manslaughter.

During sentencing, the judge Mr Justice Bourne said Redfern used his foot as "a weapon" when he launched the attack.

Handing him a mandatory life sentence for murder with a minimum 14 years before parole, Mr Justice Charles Bourne told the defendant: “I accept you must have been very shocked to find a stranger in your house, your bedroom.

“But your reaction surpasses anything that any reasonable person could imagine."

  • Watch as the judge describes what happened on the night of 21 July and the injuries Margaret Barnes received

“You are a large and strong man, aged 45 at the time.

“She was small and slight, at least 25 years older than you, clearly affected by alcohol and unsteady on her feet.

“I can understand why you might have escorted her out of your house, though a different person might have responded to this situation by trying to help her.

“But the assault, a kick or stamp of sufficient force to cause a fatal injury, was a dreadful thing to do, to a defenceless elderly person.”He described Barnes as "elderly lady affected by intoxication".

He said she was a "much-loved wife, mother and grandmother", crediting neighbours for providing her with "compassionate care" as they waited for an ambulance to arrive.

The attack happened in July last year Credit: Erfyl Lloyd Davies

Redfern had told jurors he "slipped" outside his home and "collided and clattered" into Mrs Barnes, who he claimed became agitated after he called police to remove her from the house.

The court heard how Redfern told police, "I didn’t intend at all to cause the victim harm. I deny I kicked the victim", adding, "I wasn’t aware of the gravity of the victim’s injuries until her symptoms became acute."

The judge said that the confrontation "happened suddenly" and said "there was a lack of premeditation", but described Redfern's actions as a "dreadful thing to do."

He said the fatal assault consisted of a single blow and there was a "lack of intention to kill" but he did intend to cause her "really serious physical harm".

Redfern was sentenced to a minimum term of 14 years in jail.

Mrs Barnes was described as "defenceless" when she was attacked by Redfern last year Credit: Erfyl Lloyd Davies

Detective Superintendent Mark Pierce said: “We welcome today’s life sentence for David Redfern for the brutal murder of Margaret Barnes.

"During a two-week trial Redfern showed no remorse, attempted to blame Margaret for his actions and subjected her family to the trauma of a two-week trial where details of the event were explored in graphic detail.

"How a 21 stone, 6’1’’ man could have inflicted such catastrophic injuries on a frail, 71-year-old lady, 25 years his senior, is beyond the comprehension of any reasonable person.

"David Redfern is a cowardly, vicious bully and will now spend at least 14 years behind bars where he can reflect on what he has done.

"In stark contrast, Margaret’s family have displayed tremendous courage and dignity throughout the investigation and during the court proceedings. They can now start to re-build their lives as they begin to move forward.”