Drug addict who strangled dad of three caught while walking the victim's labradoodle

Donald Prentice Patience was strangled to death last August at a property in Radcliffe, Greater Manchester. Credit: Greater Manchester Police

A drug addict who killed a dad-of-three was caught while walking the victim's labradoodle, Layla - two days after he strangled him to death.

Donald Prentice Patience was found dead in his home after police were called to a suspected burglary when Ian Connell, 39, was seen walking away from property with his dog.

He later told officers that the dog belonged to his "mate Donald, who he worked for".

Connell claimed Mr Patience instructed him to break in to the home in Radcliffe, Greater Manchester, in August 2023 after snapping his key trying to gain access to the property to walk the dog.

Ian Connell was found guilty of murder after a trial. Credit: Greater Manchester Police

Mr Patience was found at the bottom of his stairs with his body stored inside a duvet cover after Connell attempted to move him upstairs.

A pathologist said it was likely he had died two days before his body was discovered by officers.

Connell, who told police he "loved Mr Patience like a father", denied murder but was found guilty after a trial at Manchester Crown Court.

Connell, of Duke Street, Bolton, is set to be sentenced on 6 March 2024.

Speaking to the judge after jurors left the courtroom, he said: "I'm not guilty of this offence, Your Honour."

Mr Patience's dog Layla. Credit: MEN Media

Mr Patience, originally from Alness, Scotland, moved to Greater Manchester for employment but after a car accident in 2015 left him unable to work - he turned to alcohol and painkillers.

Connell who was a heroin and crack cocaine addict, said he became friendly with Mr Patience and would carry out work for him.

He described the 45-year-old as his 'boss' and said he would give him money.

Prosecutors argued people including Connell preyed upon Mr Patience's "good nature" as he had access to family money.

They believed Connell murdered Mr Patience following a row over money.

Prosecutor Michael Hayton KC told jurors: "Mr Patience was beginning to lose patience with Mr Connell, and was not as perhaps as receptive to requests for funds as he had [been] in the past.

"The Crown say this is the most likely reason that today Mr Patience is no longer with us."

Connell claimed after taking drugs and waking up he found Mr. Patience dead on the sofa. Credit: MEN Media

Connell was seen breaking into the property on Ainsworth Road, Radcliffe, by shattering a window in the kitchen, at 11am on 22 August.

When Connell was searched, Mr Patience's driving licence and library card was found in his pocket.

Connell claimed after taking drugs and waking up he found Mr Patience dead on the sofa.

The jurors heard that Connell 'confessed' to killing Mr Patience on the phone speaking with an associate a couple days before he was found.

A witness who overheard the exchange said he heard the associate ask Connell: "You think you killed your boss?"