Murdered former Norwich bus conductor was a gentleman

PUBLISHED: 19:23 01 February 2013 | UPDATED: 19:24 01 February 2013

Barry Reeve

Barry Reeve


A “quiet”, “friendly” and “welcoming” gentleman is how Barry Reeve, a former Eastern Counties Buses conductor, was described by his heartbroken family who are still mourning the brutal and senseless loss of a father, brother and grandad.

For the past four weeks they have had to relive, in devastating detail, the full horror of what happened to Mr Reeve as his life was brought to a brutal end by two drug and drink fuelled addicts.

Attacked, tortured, left to die and robbed just so Kelly and Jodie Barnes, formerly Ramsbottom, could get enough cash to carry on their illicit binges.

No-one deserves to die like that, least of all a 67-year-old man who was so slight he was known as Titch to his friends.

Mr Reeve, who was also referred to as Schweppes, was a father-of-two and grandfather-of-four who lived alone at 68 Clyffe Cottages, Corton Road, off City Road.

He had been at the one bedroom bungalow, part of a complex owned by Broadland Housing Group, since before 2005 and lived a fairly solitary existence.

Neighbours remembered him as a man who would exchange pleasantries if they bumped into him but generally “kept himself to himself”.

Rachel Park, a support co-ordinator for Broadland Housing Group said she found Mr Reeve to lead an “isolated life” and he often allowed milk bottles and newspapers to accumulate in the property.

Mr Reeve did, though, venture out to visit Norwich Market and the First Bus canteen at Rouen House on Rouen Road, where he enjoyed playing cards with former colleagues.

Although he had worked for the Post Office, at a local garage and as a car park attendant at Norwich City Football Club in the past, it was his career on the buses that he seemed most fond of.

Mr Reeve enjoyed meeting up with his former colleagues and was a regular visitor both to Rouen House and the Busmans’ reunion held at the Woolpack pub in Golden Ball Street every year.

Bus colleagues remember him as a “great card player” and in more recent years as a keen photographer who enjoyed taking pictures at the annual reunions.

Mr Reeve’s love of cards put him back in contact with another former bus colleague, Michael Critten, who was also a conductor in the 1970s and who had “enjoyed playing cards with Barry” in the spare time they had.

He had lost contact with Mr Reeve, who also enjoyed fishing and plane spotting, but saw him again about three or four years ago and invited him to the Trowel and Hammer pub in Norwich where he runs a cribbage team.

It was an attack, whether administered by Kelly, Jodie or both of them, which resulted in severe head injuries which he would have survived for between 15 and 48 hours before dying alone in his own home unable to summon help.

Nobody deserves to die in the shocking and horrific way he did.

It is only now that his killers have been sentenced that his family might be able to start to move on with their lives and remember the happier times in Mr Reeve’s life and not the horrific way he lost it.

The heartbroken family of Barry Reeve have welcomed the verdict and the sentences handed out to the women who robbed them so brutally of the “private and quiet” father of two and grandfather of four.

Mr Reeve’s family have sat loyally and with great dignity through every single day of the trial despite hearing in devastating detail how Mr Reeve lost his life.

After yesterday’s sentencing his daughter Julie bravely spoke out about the impact her father’s death has had on her and the rest of the family.

She said: “It has broken my heart what they did to my father.

“They tortured and killed him and then did not have the decency to even plead guilty, to spare us this.”

In a statement, Mr Reeve’s family said: “Our father was a private, quiet man who was friendly and welcoming to everyone he knew.

“He enjoyed photography, plane spotting, fishing and playing cribbage. He also enjoyed working, for a time, helping with the car parking at the local football club.

“As a family we were deeply shocked and distressed by what happened and the consequences for both of us, his son and daughter and his grandchildren.

“Our family could not be happier with the verdict, however, no amount of time these women spend in prison will change what happened and bring back our lovely little dad.

“We would like to express our gratitude to Norfolk Constabulary for all their hard work and support –especially our family liaison officer who has been there for us since this ordeal began.

“We would also like to thank friends, family and Victim Support for their support given, in what has been the worst imaginable year of our lives.

“The whole court process has been a very emotional time, however, we look upon this as closure and now need to concentrate on our grieving and learning to live our lives without Dad whilst trying to come to terms with the awful circumstances in which he was taken from us.”

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