The detective who led the investigation into the murder of a former bus conductor said the behaviour and movements of his two killers on the day Barry Reeve was attacked and left for dead highlighted their “chaotic” lifestyles.

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Kelly Barnes and Jodie Barnes, formerly Ramsbottom, were both drug addicts who, on February 9, 2012, left their home high on drugs.

The couple were so out of it on both drink and drugs that they missed an appointment to see Kelly’s four children.

The four youngsters had only been taken from her a few days before.

And, in what Karim Khalil QC, prosecuting, described as a “cruel twist of fate”, after missing that first opportunity to see the children since they were taken, they bumped into Julie Reeve, the victim’s daughter – who nervously told them Richmond House was shut. And so it was that after stealing a fleece from someone in the Rose pub that, desperate for money and coming down from their drug and alcohol high, they headed for Mr Reeve’s bungalow where they carried out this savage and fatal attack.

DCI Andy Guy, from the Norfolk and Suffolk Joint Major Investigation Team, said it was an act which summed up the way they lived their lives. He said: “They’re both self-confessed drug addicts and you can see from the events of February 9 last year how they spent their day.

“They were both drunk and drugged that day.

“It involved selling goods, it involved stealing a set of skates and later on Kelly has stolen a jacket belonging to someone else (in the pub).

“They missed an appointment with the children – it just goes to show how chaotic their day to day lifestyles were.”

DCI Guy said murder was an unusual crime in Norfolk but this killing was even more unusual both in its brutality and in that the two perpetrators were women.

He added the investigation was made more difficult that the body had been laying undiscovered for a couple of weeks, meaning officers had to play “catch up”.

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