Murder-bid fraudster sees jail term increase

May 25 2021

A 63-YEAR-OLD man who tried to murder a disabled woman to cover up the fact he’d stolen more than £100,000 from her over a period of over two years has had his prison sentence increased to 15 years.
Barry Riley, of East Morton, attempted to smother 75-year-old Ann Skelton with a pillow at her home in Westbury-on-Trym on 10 March 2018. Riley provided care for the victim, who had a degenerative physical condition, and he had Power of Attorney over her finances.
Riley was found guilty of attempted murder and fraud and sentenced in February to 11 years and eight months in jail but on May 13 had this increased to 15 years on appeal where it was ruled the original sentence was unduly lenient.
Riley attempted to kill Ms Skelton by placing a pillow over her face, claiming it was a mercy killing, but she managed to press her buzzer to alert other care staff, who arrived to find her slumped over the side of her bed.
Ms Skelton, who was unable to talk due to her condition and used a keyboard to communicate, died in hospital a few months after this incident. A post-mortem examination found no link between the incident and the cause of death.
Investigating officer Det Sgt Craig Basil said: “This was a cold and calculating attack on a woman unable to defend herself. The depths of his criminality knew no bounds and even on the day of the failed attempt to kill Ann Skelton, Riley went to the cashpoint to withdraw more of her money.”