Murder investigation launched as police respond to Radcliffe 'dog burglary' to find dead man

A murder investigation has been launched after officers responding to a dog burglary discovered the body of a 45-year-old man.

Police were called to reports a white Labradoodle had been taken during a burglary from a house on Ainsworth Road, in Radcliffe, Bury, at around 10.30am on 22 August.

But, when they arrived at the house, they found the body of Donald Prentice Patience.

Three men have been arrested on suspicion of murder.

A post mortem concluded the death is suspicious, but Greater Manchester Police (GMP) say it is currently unable to confirm the cause of Donald's death.

Donald’s loved ones described him as "a much-loved son, brother and father and will be sorely missed by many, affectionately known as Prentice".

The body of Donald 'Prentice' Patience was found on Ainsworth Road in Radcliffe. Credit: Google Maps

After being questioned two men, aged 27 and 41, have been released bailed pending further enquires, while a 39-year-old man remains in police custody.

The force says its response to the burglary was 'swift', with an arrest being made close by 'shortly after'.

The house remained cordoned off, with forensic officers coming in and out of the address, while the back window is smashed and blue tarpaulin can be seen in the back yard.

Detective Chief Inspector Rachel Smith, of GMP’s Major Incident Team, said: "First, as a force, we would like to pass on our condolences to Donald's loved ones at this extremely distressing time, we are doing all we can to get the answers they deserve and find out what has happened.

"Since we were made aware of this incident earlier this week our investigation has been swift and precise, with three arrested because of our enquiries with one at the scene at the time of the suspected burglary.

“I would like to reassure the local public, as I understand there will be alarm when finding out about this, but we are confident it is a targeted attack.

"We now want to appeal to the local community for any eyewitness accounts or footage of any activity that we may be able to link to this investigation.

“We are also looking for people who may know Donald, have seen him walking his beloved white labradoodle in the local area or have any knowledge of any activity at or near his address, which is an end terrace on Ainsworth Road, since Friday, August 18 2023.

"It is crucial we have as much detail as possible to help piece together what has happened in this tragic incident where someone has sadly lost their life.

“We are keeping all available lines of enquiry open but no matter how small, your piece of information may be that crucial bit of evidence we need that can help us with this investigation.”