Simon Taylor and Tom Dunn secure unanimous convictions in murder trial

February 8, 2016

Simon Taylor and Tom Dunn instructed by the South Eastern Complex Casework Unit of the CPS have secured the conviction of Allison Tomlin and John Barham on a charge of murder following a 7 week trial at Maidstone Crown Court.

The mutilated and badly decomposed corpse of John Birney (aged 69) was discovered by staff at his supported accommodation at Rocky Hill Terrace on 8 June 2015. The post mortem revealed that Mr Birney had sustained multiple stab wounds to the face, head and neck as well as significant blunt force trauma injuries to the chest.

A forensic investigation revealed Allison Tomlin’s DNA on knives found discarded around Mr Birney’s body and her belt tied around his wrist. A further knife containing her DNA was found wedged into the sash window frame, effectively securing it shut. Miss Tomlin’s fingerprint was discovered on a newsletter postdating Mr Birney’s death suggested that she had been living with his corpse for several days – a fact consistent with her purchasing multiple cans of air freshener in order to mask the smell of decomposition. A pair of John Barham’s jeans were found to be stained with Mr Birney’s blood, and in the weeks that followed, he confessed to the murder to disparate group of individuals.

The prosecution case presented considerable challenges both factually and legally. The advanced stage of decomposition meant that it was not possible to establish either a precise cause or time of death. The case against each defendant whilst clear in and of itself revealed no obvious link as between them.

Sentence will take place on Friday 12 February.

Please see the links below for media coverage of the case:-

BBC News
The Mirror
Kent Online