THE alleged killer of Cynthia Beamond hurled abuse at the public gallery and made a throat-slitting gesture when he appeared in court today charged with her murder.
Leo Barnes is accused of murdering 80-year-old Mrs Beamond between June 26-30 and Philip Silverstone, 67 between June 27 and July 1.
Miss Beamond’s body was found hidden in her semi-detached property in Juliet Road, on Sunday evening - two days after her family reported her missing.
A post mortem revealed she died as a result of head injuries sustained during a vicious attack.
On Monday Mr Silverstone was found stabbed to death at his flat in a sheltered housing block 120 miles away in Belsize Park, north-west London.
Barnes, of Balsall Heath, Birmingham, appeared at Dudley Magistrates’ Court this morning charged with both murders.
A second defendant, Chantelle Moran-Barnes, 24, also appeared in court charged with murdering Mrs Beamond.
Blonde-haired Moran-Barnes, of Darlaston, spoke only to confirm her name, address and date of birth, during the five-minute hearing.
Barnes, wearing a black T-shirt, shrugged and smirked as he refused to give or confirm his name, address and date of birth to the court clerk.
He also appeared to side his finger across his throat as he came into court and started shouting abuse at the public gallery.
No bail applications were made and neither defendant were asked to enter a plea during the brief hearing.
Chairwoman of the bench Teresa Popplewell remanded Barnes and Moran-Stokes into custody and appear at Wolverhampton Crown Court tomorrow (Friday).