A neighbour has spoken of his horror after discovering that the “moody and menacing” pensioner he was living next door to was one of the West Midlands most notorious serial killers.
Marza Ahmed, 34, had no idea the man he knew as Harry Street was, in fact, Barry Williams, who had shot dead five people in 1978 following a noisy neighbour dispute.
Chillingly, the killer next door had also threatened the dad-of-four over the noise his own daughters were making before his arrest last October.
Mr Ahmed said: “My family could have been gunned down just like his poor victims were all those years ago. I think we have been very lucky.”
Williams was arrested at his home in Hazelville Road, Hall Green, last October by police investigating claims that he had been harassing another neighbour for four years.
Mr Ahmed told the Mail: “He was an incredibly moody man. One day he’d be OK with you and the next he would be quite off and a little menacing.
“My wife used to take him food round. We wanted to get along with him and some days he would be fine but there was always an edge to him.”
Mr Ahmed said Williams would often complain about the noise his four daughters would make in the house.
He said: “He would bang on the walls and shout at them to shut up. When I think about what he has done in the past and the weapons police discovered in his house, it makes me shudder.
“Thank God he was arrested before anything really bad happened. I still can’t believe I was living next door to a serial killer.”
This week paranoid schizophrenic Williams was sectioned under the Mental Health Act for waging a six-year campaign of harassment after changing his name to Harry Street.
Mr Justice Blair told the pensioner he would be detained in a maximum security hospital and may never be released.
Williams had been due to stand trial at Birmingham Crown Court accused of making an improvised explosive device and possessing two pistols and a revolver with intent to endanger life. But he changed his plea and admitted possessing the explosive device, while the Crown accepted his not guilty pleas to four other charges.
The multiple killer had already pleaded guilty at previous hearings to three charges of possessing a prohibited firearm and a count of putting a neighbour in fear of violence between 2009 and 2013.
Back in 1979 the then 34-year-old Williams was convicted of manslaughter by diminished responsibility and sent to Broadmoor secure hospital with an order that he should only be released with the permission of the Home Secretary.
He was released in 1993 and lived for a time in a secure hostel six miles from the scene of the massacre.
He later moved to Wales, then back to Kidderminster. He married his wife Beverly in 1996 and the couple had a child later that same year. The family moved to Hazelville Road in 2005.