Baked bean Barney gets life for killing mother.20 years ago in the Riviera Reporter (extract)
Julian Ashley Cox, aka “baked bean Barney”, former owner-manager of the Ashley’s of England food store in Antibes, has been jailed for life at Winchester Crown Court with a recommendation that he serve at least 20 years. Cox, 30, was convicted of killing his mother and trying to murder his father, sister and nephew by setting fire to the family home at Emsworth in Hampshire.
The court was told that the whole family would have died in the flames had Cox’s sister Jacquie not heard a noise in the night and discovered her brother splashing petrol around the house. But this was too late to save their mother, Joy Cox, 60, who died five days later of what were described as “horrifying burns”. The rest of the family escaped, unharmed. Cox himself suffered burns and could not be brought to trial for a year. According to the prosecution he had planned his crime to cash in family insurance policies to help him save his failing business. Passing sentence, Judge Turner said “a baser motive is difficult to imagine”.
Among those who knew Cox in Antibes, reactions to his conviction and sentence were varied. Some found the details of the case unbelievable. “He was such a mild and decent sort of bloke,” recalled a neighbouring shopkeeper in the Galerie du Port. “It doesn’t make sense.” Others took a different view. “He was too quiet,” claimed a former customer. “I’m not surprised he had weird things going on in his head.” Geoffrey Garnett – who took over Cox’s business, now known as Geoffrey’s of London – has mixed feelings. “I had quite a lot to do with him and I found him pleasant enough. I think the failure of his business put a lot of strain on him and he just went over the edge.”
Fron the Riviera Reporter, Oct-Nov 1992