The detective who led the investigation into the murder of a South Yorkshire pensioner has branded it a ‘horrific, unprovoked and inhumane’ attack.
Ian Birley, 43, and his girlfriend and Helen Nichols, 38, both of Mont Walk, Wombwell, were found guilty of murdering John Gogarty at Sheffield Crown Court today.
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.
Detective Chief Inspector Stephen Handley, who lead the investigation, said: “This was a horrific and unprovoked attack and I am pleased the jury has found Birley and Nichols guilty of murder.
“Mr Gogarty was a hard-working, security conscious man who kept himself to himself. He was mild-mannered and never displayed violence to anyone.
“Birley and Nichols went round to Marsh Street on Monday July, 13 to rob Mr Gogarty but because he did not have cash at his home, Birley inflicted a level of violence on an innocent man that can only be described as atrocious.
“Evidence suggested that Mr Gogarty was threatened for his money. He endured significant pain at the hands of Birley and Nichols and I hope that their sentence reflects the severity of this inhumane act.”
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.
The pair were arrested on July 23 following a media appeal.
Det Chief Insp Handley said: “I hope that today’s conviction will go some way to helping Mr Gogary’s family come to terms with the tragic loss of their loved one.
“I would like to thank the members of the public who came forward following the media appeal, the witnesses and all the officers who worked tirelessly to bring this case to court.
“Wombwell is a close-knit and friendly community and I would like to thank the residents of Wombwell for their patience during the large scale investigation.”