Pensioner who weighed just 5 stone beaten to death by teenager he took into his home

Robert Morrison, 69, suffered injuries to his face and body in the attack at his home in King’s Heath

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A frail five-stone pensioner was brutally murdered at the hands of a teenager he had befriended.

Robert Morrison, nicknamed Busby, a 69 year old wheelchair user, let Ian Knowles, 19, live with him in his flat in King's Heath, the Birmingham Mail reports.

His friends said he felt sorry for the homeless teenager, who had spent time living in hostels.

One said: "He wanted company. He thought that was what he was going to get."

But within days he regretted his kindness.

Ian Knowles lived with Mr Morrison before robbing and murdering his.

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The former Cadburys and British Leyland worker was "petrified" of Mr Knowles.

Even after being made to leave the property, he tormented Mr Morrison.

Then on December 10 2019, Mr Knowles and his accomplice Asmaila Mohamed, 20, followed him home from The Pear Tree pub, and stole his bank cards.

But when the thieves couldn't withdraw any money, they went back to the flat to get the pin codes, and viciously attacked him, breaking his ribs and bruising his face and body.

They stole £100, jewellery and a mobile phone.

Asmaila Mohamed met Knowles at a hostel, and was later found with Mr Morrison's phone and watches.

The pensioner managed to make it to a neighbour's house the next morning.

He was taken to hospital, and discharged the same day.

But his worried neighbour contacted the police, who found him in agony and took him back to hospital.

He died six days later, from pneumonia caused by fractured ribs.

This week Mr Knowles and Mr Mohamed were found guilty at Birmingham Crown Court. They are due to be sentenced January 22.

His close friend Ann Harford has launched a fundraiser for Mr Morrison's funeral on his birthday March 8, at the Robin Hood Cemetery in Shirley.

She said: "He was the best, a real gentle soul.

"When I saw Knowles in court, he clenched his fist. If I could've jumped over and got to him….Knowles showed no remorse whatsoever.

"Busby was five stone. Even a punch to the face would've brought about his death."

"He would speak to anyone and that was his downfall. He was adopted and was a closed book when it came to speaking about his family.

"He would do anything for anyone. He knew one of them (Knowles) and they attacked him. Busby got speaking to him and felt sorry for him – he was living in a hostel.

"He stayed for a couple of nights and Busby knew he was a wrong 'un. He stopped Knowles from coming to his property.

"But Knowles would try to get in by saying he was a grandson."

Mr Morrison was a well-liked figure locally, known for peddling trinkets in pubs, and his old fashioned values.

One neighbour said: "He used to always kiss my hand in the pub."

His nickname came from Busby the bird, a character from a BT advertisement in the 1970s.

"A girlfriend would ring him at a pub," Ann said. "One day the landlord shouted, 'hey Busby – she's on the phone again'. It just stuck."

Mr Morrison was stalked home before being robbed and murdered.
(Image: BPM Media)

Furious local residents have taken to online community forums to express their rage.

One posted: "Rot in hell you pair."

Another said: "They should get life. He would never hurt anyone."

Another stated: "Justice – rotten little b******s."

At the trial in December, prosecutor Stephen Linehan said: "Somehow in the months leading up to the attack on Mr Morrison, Ian Knowles came to know of him, know where he lived and that he lived alone and that he had money in the bank.

"It’s apparent Knowles identified him as an easy target.

"During 2018 they began to target him to get money out of him.

"And it was that targeting of him for money that eventually led to these two on that night in December forcing their way into his flat, attacking him, robbing him and causing injuries that the neighbour saw in the morning."

Footprints near the crime scene implicated the killers, and analysis of Mr Knowles' phone led police to Mr Mohamed, who he had met in a hostel.

The key to Mr Morrison's flat was found in Mr Mohamed's room, along with his phone and three of his watches.

Detective Inspector Wes Martin, from West Midlands Police's homicide team said: “Mr Morrison was a frail man, who used a mobility scooter, and it would have been obvious to the pair that he was vulnerable and unable to defend himself, yet this callous pair continued to rob and assault him, resulting in his tragic death.”

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