Double murder suspect Leo Barnes found dead in cell
Double murder suspect Leo Barnes found dead in cell

A man accused of killing two pensioners has been found hanged in his jail cell.

Leo Barnes, 33, was standing trial for the murders of Cynthia Beamond, 80, and Philip Silverstone, 67.

Beamond was bludgeoned to death with a saucepan in her home and then a day later Silverstone was killed with a car jack.

Barnes went on trial last week and gave evidence, denying the allegations at Wolverhampton Crown Court. He did not appear in the dock last Friday after complaining of illness. He was found dead over the weekend.

Reacting to the news of his death, Beamond's daughter Beverley Hadley said they had been robbed of the chance of justice.

She said: "We are devastated as a family that the man we believe is responsible for the brutal murder of my beloved Mum is not going to face justice for this horrendous crime.

"She is missed by everyone who knew her and her loss has left a huge void. Our lives have been devastated and changed forever. As a family we are now suffering our own life sentence."

West Midlands Police Detective Inspector Caroline Corfield, who led the murder enquiry, said: "I am shocked to hear about the death of Leo Barnes who was found dead in his cell at HMP Hewell by prison staff. His death is not deemed suspicious.

"Family Liaison Officers have been supporting the families of both Cynthia and Philip - and officers have also notified Mr Barnes' next of kin."