‘Callous’ robbers who followed frail victim home jailed for murder

Richard Vernalls

A “callous” pair who violently robbed a frail pensioner in his flat after following him home from a pub have been jailed for life for his murder.

Robert Morrison, 69, who needed a mobility scooter to get about, died in hospital six days after being violently beaten at home in Grove Road, Kings Heath, Birmingham, on December 10 2018, West Midlands Police said.

Victim Robert Morrison
Victim Robert Morrison was frail and needed a mobility scooter to get about (West Midlands Police/PA)

He succumbed to pneumonia brought on by the assault, which had left him with three broken ribs and bruising over his face and body.

Ian Knowles and Ismaila Mohamed, both 20, were convicted of the killing by a jury at Birmingham Crown Court after a trial in January, and sentenced on Wednesday.

On the night of the robbery, Knowles and Mohamed had been caught on CCTV waiting for hours for Mr Morrison to come out of the pub.

Screengrab of Knowles and Mohamed waiting for Mr Robinson
CCTV showed Ian Knowles and Ismaila Mohamed waiting for Robert Morrison outside the pub (West Midlands Police/PA)

As the pensioner left on his scooter, the pair were then seen heading towards his flat where, just 15 minutes after he arrived, they subjected him to a brutal, violent robbery.

A short time later Knowles and Mohamed were recorded trying to use their victim’s bank card.

When they were unsuccessful, they returned to Mr Morrison’s flat, where they attacked him again.

Robert Morrison arriving home
CCTV showed Robert Morrison arriving home from the pub on his scooter, just minutes before he was robbed in his flat (West Midlands Police/PA)

Knowles was identified after police checks on the address showed Mr Morrison had a history of issues with the defendant.

Officers attended Knowles’ bail hostel and, during a search, Knowles, of Waterloo Road, Smethwick, returned and was arrested.

Footprints recovered at the crime scene and phone analysis led detectives to Mohamed, of Stirling Road, Edgbaston, who had previously lived at the same hostel as Knowles.

Mohamed and Knowles on CCTV
Ismaila Mohamed and Ian Knowles’ movements were tracked by detectives, using CCTV (West Midlands Police/PA)

A key fob to Mr Morrison’s address was found in Mohamed’s room, along with three watches and a phone, all belonging to the victim.

Knowles was jailed for a minimum of 19 years for murder, with a further nine years for robbery, and one year, 14 days for possession of a knife and cannabis, to be served concurrently.

Mohamed was sentenced to a 17-year minimum term for the killing, with nine years for robbery, to be served concurrently.

Speaking after the men’s conviction, Detective Inspector Wes Martin, of West Midlands Police, said: “Mr Morrison was a frail man, who used a mobility scooter, and it would have been obvious to the pair that he was vulnerable and unable to defend himself.

“Yet this callous pair continued to rob and assault him, resulting in his tragic death.”

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