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Ten-year sentence for killer who attacked pensioner in his home

By Matthew Cooper, PA
·3-min read

A killer who launched a “sustained and serious” assault on a pensioner and then ignored pleas to call an ambulance has been ordered to be detained for ten years.

Rhys Reynolds was convicted of manslaughter after a jury was told he made a series of telephone calls to friends, rather than summoning help for 72-year-old Tony McCorry.

A jury was told Mr McCorry had spent his working life in Birmingham helping the homeless after growing up in a Glasgow orphanage.

Reynolds, 20, of Landswood Close, Kingstanding, was cleared of murder but convicted of unlawful killing following a trial at Birmingham Crown Court in October.

Rhys Reynolds was sentenced for 10 years (West Midlands Police)
Rhys Reynolds was sentenced for 10 years (West Midlands Police)

On Friday, Judge Francis Laird QC said the student had given the appearance of helping the victim back to his home in Boldmere, Sutton Coldfield, after their paths crossed in a nearby pub in December 2019.

Although he accepted that jurors had found that there was no intention to kill or cause really serious injury, the judge said the defendant had lied to friends, the police, and the court about what happened inside Mr McCorry’s home.

The judge told Reynolds, who appeared via a video-link from Brinsford Young Offender Institution in Staffordshire: “Tony McCorry was a loving and loved father, grandfather and brother.

“The court has heard the moving statement of his son, written on behalf of the family, remembering the good times with his father.

“No sentence I pass today on you could begin to mitigate the devastating loss to his family caused by his death.”

The trial was told Mr McCorry was pronounced dead when paramedics arrived at his home after Reynolds phoned numerous friends, telling one the pensioner had fallen downstairs, while informing another he had struck him with an ashtray.

The pensioner, who walked with the aid of a stick, died of heart failure after suffering four fractures to his larynx, thought to have been caused by a severe grip or blows, as well as injuries to his scalp, jaw and torso.

The court heard an ambulance was summoned by a female friend of Reynolds almost two hours after he and Mr McCorry entered the pensioner’s home.

Rejecting claims that Reynolds, who has a history of mental health issues, had been attempting to defend himself, Judge Laird added: “You have told many lies about the events in the house.

“What is clear is that the cause of Tony McCorry’s death was a heart attack which was brought on by the trauma he suffered at your hands.

“Following the infliction of those injuries you remained in the house.

“You began to make a series of calls to friends in which you gave conflicting and untrue accounts of what had happened.

“You were told on several occasions to call an ambulance. You did not.”

The judge said the nature, number and severity of the injuries made him sure that the assault had been “sustained and serious” and it would have been obvious to Reynolds that it carried a high risk of causing death.

A family victim impact statement read to the court described Mr McCorry as having an “independent Scottish spirit.”

The statement, written on behalf of his two sons, brother and other family members, said Mr McCorry had “worked with the homeless, as he once was.”

“He chose to work towards a brighter future, rather than lament the past,” the statement added.