Couple found guilty of murdering South Yorkshire pensioner by stabbing him 69 times

Ian Birley has been found guilty of murdering John Gogarty
Ian Birley has been found guilty of murdering John Gogarty

Two people have been found guilty of the murder of a South Yorkshire pensioner.

Ian Birley, 43, and his girlfriend and Helen Nichols, 38, both of Mont Walk, Wombwell, denied murdering John Gogarty.

Helen Nichols

Helen Nichols

The 65-year-old property developer died as a result of the injuries he sustained in an attack at his home in Marsh Street, Wombwell on the evening of July 13 this year.

Mr Gogarty’s body was discovered four days later by his son John Jr, who found his father lying on the floor ‘covered in blood’.

Following the verdicts at Sheffield Crown Court, the jury was told that Birley was out on licence for another murder at the time of the attack.

Birley was also found guilty of robbing Mr Gogarty. Nicholas had earlier pleaded guilty to the same charge.

John Gogarty

John Gogarty


South Yorkshire pensioner John Gogarty murdered in ‘inhumane, horrific and unprovoked’ attack

During the three-week trial, the jury heard the couple had robbed him to pay off a £500 drugs debt to a Sheffield drugs dealer.

Mr Gogarty was stabbed 69 times, with ‘numerous’ stab wounds inflicted while he was lying on the floor.

The court heard that Nichols accepted she was at the scene but said she played no part in the murder, which she said was committed by Birley.

Birley said he had nothing to do with the murder and denied being at the scene.

During the investigation, police officers searched the property and found several distinctive, expensive were missing.

Detectives also found a £500 ATM receipt from Barclays Bank on Wombwell High Street dated 6.53pm on Monday July, 13. CCTV of the ATM machined showed a woman, matching the description of Nichols, withdrawing £500 from Mr Gogarty’s account.

Further CCTV showed Birley and Nichols walking onto Marsh Street at around 6.40pm and leaving Marsh Street at around 7.08pm on July 13.

Birley and Nichols will be sentenced on Monday.

Mr Justice King says Birley will never be released from prison as a result of the new murder conviction.