UPDATE: Murder of Barnsley pensioner ‘atrocious’, says top cop

John Gogarty
John Gogarty

A detective who led the investigation into the frenzied murder of a pensioner has described the crime as “atrocious” after two killers were jailed for life.

Helen Nichols, aged 38, and Ian Birley, aged 43, both of Mont Walk, Wombwell, were sentenced to life in prison yesterday after being convicted of murdering John Gogarty and robbery by a jury at Sheffield Crown Court.

Ian Birley and Helen Nichols were jailed for murder.

Ian Birley and Helen Nichols were jailed for murder.

Nichols must serve a minimum term of 20 years but Birley has been given a full-life order with no chance of parole. The couple had both denied murder.

Previous coverageCouple jailed.

The court heard how Mr Gogarty, a 65-year-old property developer, was found with multiple stab wounds inside his home in Marsh Street, Wombwell, on Friday, July 17, this year. A post-mortem found that he had been stabbed 69 times.

After the court hearing, detective chief inspector Stephen Handley, who led the investigation, said: “The sentence reflects the severity of this atrocious crime and I hope it will in some way help Mr Gogarty’s family come to terms with their loss.

“This was a shocking crime followed by a complex and thorough investigation and I would like to reiterate my thanks to the officers involved in the case for getting us here.

“Throughout the trial, Mr Gogarty’s family has shown real strength and bravery. I would like to pay tribute to them and I hope they can move forward with their lives knowing both Nichols and Birley are behind bars.”