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Carer arrested while calmly listening to classical music hours after trying to murder disabled woman with pillow

Ellen Manning
·3-min read
Police bodycam footage showed Barry Riley calmly listening to classical music as he was arrested hours after his attempted murder of 75-year-old Ann Skelton. (SWNS)
Police bodycam footage showed Barry Riley calmly listening to classical music as he was arrested hours after his attempted murder of 75-year-old Ann Skelton. (SWNS)

A carer who tried to kill an elderly disabled woman by smothering her with a pillow was found calmly listening to classical music when he was arrested just hours later.

Police bodycam footage shows the moment Barry Riley was arrested by officers after he tried to kill 75-year-old Ann Skelton.

The 62-year-old, of East Morton in West Yorkshire, has been been jailed for eleven years and eight months after being found guilty of attempted murder and fraud after trying to cover up the fact he had stolen more than £100,000 from her over more than two years.

Riley, 62, was found guilty of attempted murder and fraud after trying to cover up the fact he had stolen more than £100,000 from Ann Skelton over a period of more than two years. (SWNS)
Barry Riley, 62, was found guilty of attempted murder and fraud after trying to cover up the fact he had stolen more than £100,000 from Ann Skelton over a period of more than two years. (SWNS)

Bristol Crown Court heard that Riley tried to kill his victim, who had a degenerative physical condition and communicated using a keyboard, by putting a pillow over her face at her home in Westbury-on-Trym in Bristol on 10 March, 2018.

She managed to press her buzzer to alert other care staff, who arrived to find her slumped over the side of her bed.

Read more: Dad who shouted ‘I can’t breathe’ as tram staff restrained him was unlawfully killed

Bodyworn police footage shows officers arresting Riley – who had Power of Attorney over Skelton's finances – on suspicion of attempted murder as he listened to classical music.

His victim died a few months after the incident, and a post-mortem examination found no link between the incident and the cause of death.

Investigating officer Detective Sergeant Craig Basil, from Avon & Somerset Police, said: "Barry Riley claimed he was carrying out a mercy killing because of Ms Skelton’s condition and he said she’d asked him to help end her life.

"Following a court hearing, his fabricated story was dismissed by the judge, who ruled that he’d gone to her room that night to kill her, and that his actions were at least partly to hide the fact he’d defrauded her.

"This was a cold and calculating attack on a woman unable to defend herself. The depths of his criminality knew no bounds and even on the day of the failed attempt to kill Ann Skelton, Riley went to the cashpoint to withdraw more of her money.

"I’d like to thank Ann’s family for having confidence in our investigation and providing us with their support through what’s clearly been a distressing ordeal for them and I hope the fact Riley has been brought to justice will help them to find some form of closure in the future."

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