Drug addict Ian Connell found guilty of strangling father-of-three to death in Radcliffe, Greater Manchester | UK News

A drug addict is facing life in prison after being found guilty of murdering a father-of-three.

The decomposing body of Donald Prentice Patience, 45, was discovered inside a duvet cover at the bottom of his stairs after officers were called to a suspected burglary at his home in Radcliffe, Greater Manchester.

A postman had called police on the morning of 22 August last year after he saw Ian Connell, 39, climb through the rear kitchen window of the end-of-terrace property.

When police arrived Connell was found nearby with Mr Patience’s white labradoodle, Layla, on a lead.

Homeless Connell lied to officers that his “dear friend” was in Scotland and had given him permission to break into his property so he could walk the dog, Manchester Crown Court heard.

Mr Patience, who was known to family and friends by his middle name Prentice, had been strangled at least a day before.

Donald 'Prentice' Patience.
Donald Prentice Patience was murdered in August last year. Pic: Greater Manchester Police

The prosecution said Connell attacked his victim after probably rowing over money.

Michael Hayton KC told jurors the killer had preyed upon the good nature of Mr Patience, who had access to cash from a family property.

He said the defendant used Mr Patience as an “open wallet” to obtain thousands of pounds since they met in 2020, and accused Connell of losing his temper when he was refused cash for the first time to buy more drugs.

Police officers outside a property on Ainsworth Road in Radcliffe, Bury, where Greater Manchester Police said officers were called to at around 10.30am on Tuesday to reports of a burglary, with a white labradoodle dog being taken. The officers found Donald "Prentice" Patience, 45, dead at the property. Three men were arrested on suspicion of murder, and two, aged 27 and 41, have since been released on bail. Police said a 39-year-old man remains in police custody. PA Photo. Picture date: Friday August 25, 2023. See PA story POLICE Labradoodle. Photo credit should read: Peter Byrne/PA Wire
Police officers outside Mr Patience’s home. Pic: PA

Killer ‘panicked’

Giving evidence, Connell said he had “never raised my hand to that man” and claimed he was asleep upstairs in a spare room, and under the influence of heroin and crack cocaine, when someone else strangled Mr Patience.

He said he “panicked” after he said he eventually discovered the body and went on to tell lies to police at the scene and in his initial interview with detectives.

He said he had used heroin and crack cocaine from about the age of 19, and claimed Mr Patience allowed him and others to use drugs in the house.

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The jury heard Connell visited Mr Patience’s home on the evening of 19 August and stayed in and around the address until police discovered the body.

Following the unanimous verdict, Connell told trial judge Mrs Justice Ellenbogen: “I know I’m not supposed to speak out of turn but I’m not guilty of this offence.”

Connell, from Bolton, will be sentenced on 6 March.