A homeless man who turned on a family who had tried to help him has admitted murdering the mother and her 13-year-old son. Aaron Barley was taken in by Tracey Wilkinson who fed him, clothed him, gave him housing and found him a job.
But he returned to his life of drugs and turned on Tracey and her son Pierce. Dressed in dark clothing, Aaron Barley went upstairs to murder Tracey Wilkinson and her 13-year-old son – and then waited to ambush her husband, shouting ‘Die you bastard’ as he knifed him six times.
Although Peter Wilkinson almost died due to the severity of his injuries, he has a clear recollection of returning home after his early morning walk, the subsequent attack, and overhearing a paramedic say his wife was already dead.
‘I did my normal thing of going out to take the dog for a walk,’ Mr Wilkinson said. ‘I came back and I can remember looking through the window at the back door of the house, thinking that everybody must have overslept because nobody was up. ‘I opened the back door and, as I did it, he jumped out from behind a wall in the kitchen, all dressed in black, with a big knife held over his head and started stabbing me with it. ‘From that point I grappled with him for a short period of time and he stabbed me six times – he stabbed me twice in the face, twice in the abdomen and twice in the back.’ Although Mr Wilkinson feared Barley would continue his onslaught, he instead heard the sound of his 4×4 being driven off the property’s gravel drive.
Mr Wilkinson added: ‘I think I was on the lawn at this time. ‘I got up, went into the kitchen and phoned the emergency services, at the time not thinking I was too badly injured.
‘Then I remember looking around and seeing this huge trail of blood across the floor, which was my blood. I then went back out into the back garden, sat in a chair and I remember talking to the person on the other end of the phone and realising that I was actually dying.
‘I could feel my lungs filling with fluid and I could feel energy draining from me. ‘The next thing I remember is ambulances turning up and I can remember hearing helicopters overhead and the police arrived.
‘An ambulance man tended to me immediately. I remember him jabbing something into me, which is probably what kept me alive.
‘I also remember telling the other ambulance men to go into the house. I remember vividly one coming out behind me and saying ‘One deceased and one in cardiac arrest’.
I knew at that point that I had most likely lost Tracey and Pierce.’ Still believing he was going to die, Mr Wilkinson was taken by ambulance to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, where he was given a general anaesthetic and treated for his wounds.
Asked if Barley said anything during the attack, Mr Wilkinson replied: ‘He said “Die you bastard” as he stuck the knife into me. I said to him, after he’d stabbed me, “Aaron, we tried to help you” and he stuck the knife into my stomach and said “Die you bastard”.’
Explaining that Barley, whose parents are thought to have died when he was young, was believed to have given no account of the attack to police, Mr Wilkinson added: ‘There’s no motive, there is no explanation.
‘My personal feeling – and this is purely my personal feeling – is that he’d lost his job, he lost his flat. ‘And he decided that because his life was going bad ways, he was going to take it out on the people that had cared and looked after him.’