Were they murdered for their kindness?
Family had given sanctuary to a homeless beggar for a year
A FAMILY subjected to a brutal knife attack in their home had been looking after a local down-and-out.
Tracey Wilkinson was found dead at the gated property on Thursday morning, while 13-year- old Pierce died shortly after in hospital.
His father Peter, 47, was last night in a ‘critical but stable’ condition.
All three were said to have suffered multiple stab wounds at the £440,000 home. The Wilkinsons’ daughter Lydia, 18, was away at university at the time and was yesterday keeping a vigil at her father’s bedside.
A homeless man has been charged with the murder of the mother and her son.
Yesterday friends of the family from Stourbridge, West Midlands, told how the ‘good Samaritan’ couple had been looking after a beggar for around a year, after meeting him when he was out on the streets.
Mr Wilkinson is thought to have found the unidentified man work at his engineering firm, while the couple helped him with clothes and food to get him ‘back on his feet’.
A close friend of Mrs Wilkinson fought back tears as she described how the respected family’s generosity even extended to setting up the individual in a flat.
She added: ‘They not only helped a homeless person with cash, they found him a roof over his head, a job and even fed him.
‘When I asked Tracey about why she was helping this chap, she said she just wanted to give something back. That was the warm, compassionate person she was. Pierce was a lovely, well mannered boy. If the family went out for a meal, he would pull the chair out for his mum.’
Colin Elcock, a local Conservative councillor, said Mr and Mrs Wilkinson were party volunteers who had been leafleting ahead of the West Midlands mayoral election.
He added: ‘They were just a decent family all round. It is a measure of the family that they would do such a thing for a stranger. To learn Peter is now lying in a hospital bed and his wife and son have been killed is shocking. It is beyond belief.’
The councillor described Mrs Wilkinson, a 50-year-old former ballroom dancer, as ‘lovely’ and ‘full of kindness’. A member of staff at the couple’s local pub, the New Inn, said Mrs Wilkinson used to work in a rehab centre supporting people with drug and alcohol problems, but Mr Elcock thought she had latterly been a homemaker.
Another employee at the pub said: ‘ Peter and his daughter would come around two or three times a week, they were inseparable.’
Yesterday dozens of Pierce’s friends from Redhill School in Stourbridge arrived at the family home – a Victorian former school building – to lay flowers and ties in memory of their classmate.
Headteacher Stephen Dunster described the teenager as ‘loyal and caring’ and said he was devoted to his pet greyhound, Mandy.
The dog, which survived the carnage, is being looked after by the Retired Greyhound Trust in Birmingham, from where the family had rescued the dog.
A spokesman for Mr Wilkinson’s firm Hill and Smith, where he is a director, said: ‘Mr Wilkinson is a greatly respected colleague. All our thoughts are with the family at this difficult time.’
Miss Wilkinson is studying biology at the University of Bristol. She was last night looking after her father in Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
West Midlands Police said post mortem examinations on Mrs Wilkinson and her son will take place on Monday.
Aaron Barley, 23, of no fixed abode, will appear before Birmingham magistrates this morning charged with two counts of murder and one of attempted murder.
‘Wanted to give something back’