'Evil' burglar tied pensioner, 78, to chair to die then stole his bank card

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·3-min read
(West Midlands Police)
Adris Mohammed tied David Varlow to a chair and left him to die. (West Midlands Police)

An “evil” burglar who tied a pensioner to a chair and left him to die has been jailed for life.

Adris Mohammed bound David Varlow in his own home, leaving the pensioner to die of a heart attack.

He waited for nine days before returning to Mr Varlow’s home to untie the 78-year-old’s body – after using a stolen bank card to withdraw cash from his account.

Mohammed has been ordered to spend at least 33 years behind bars.

Prosecutors said Mohammed, 44, knew Mr Varlow had passed away alone, after being bound with telephone wire, because his stolen bank card had not been cancelled.

Post-mortem tests were unable to establish exactly when Mr Varlow died, but he is thought to have suffered a stress-induced heart attack.

Mr Varlow's body was found on the floor of his living close to a discarded knife.

(West Midlands Police)
David Varlow, 78, died after being tied up in his home. (West Midlands Police)

Jurors were told his wrists and ankles had been tied, and there was evidence of two separate wrappings around his arms.

Evidence from forensic pathologist Dr Alexander Kolar suggested the bindings were applied in life and were removed “a significant time” after Mr Varlow died.

The court heard Dr Kolar believed Mr Varlow’s arms being tied behind his back may have affected his ability to breathe.

Jurors at Birmingham Crown Court deliberated over three days before convicting Mohammed of murder, attempted burglary and two counts each of fraud and burglary.

The defendant, from Icknield Port Road, Birmingham, denied any involvement in the killing, claiming someone else had asked him to take part in removal work.

Prosecutor Peter Grieves-Smith said Mohammed went to Mr Varlow’s home in Manor Lane, Halesowen, West Midlands, on 24 October, 3 November and overnight on 11-12 November last year.

Mohammed failed to break into the property on his first visit but went back to the house in the early hours of 3 November.

He is then believed held Mr Varlow at knifepoint to reveal his PIN, aiming to withdraw as much money as possible from an account holding £19,000.

(West Midlands Police)
Adris Mohammed waited nine days to collect the bank card. (West Midlands Police)

Detective Superintendent Shaun Edwards said Mohammed opted not to make even an anonymous call after leaving Mr Varlow tied up.

As well as allowing others to use the stolen card to withdraw thousands of pounds, Mohammed used the card himself to steal £550, enabling him to buy a bangle which he pawned in Stafford.

Mr Edwards said: “This is an horrific targeting of a vulnerable 78-year-old man. I cannot imagine what it was like for Mr Varlow … tied to a chair, vulnerable, unable to call for help – simply left to die.”

Saying the “callous” killer had shown a lack of humanity, the officer added: “Mohammed’s motives were purely greed, purely to steal.

(West Midlands Police)
The scene left in David Varlow's home. (West Midlands Police)

“He was purely focused on leaving him tied up, safe in the knowledge Mr Varlow couldn’t call for help, couldn’t report the burglary to his bank, so Mohammed could go on that spending spree with his friends, for those nine days.

“He still hasn’t taken responsibility for what happened to Mr Varlow.

“There’s absolutely no remorse, he’s a really callous, evil person.”

Jurors also convicted co-defendant O’Shay Swan of burglary and fraud after hearing how the 42-year-old, of Winson Green Road, Birmingham, went with Mohammed to Manor Lane on 11-12 November and was present when Mr Varlow’s bank card was used.

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