A Scottish statistician is found dead having turned to drink after an accident, and a murder trial hears

A Scottish statistician is found dead having turned to drink after an accident, and a murder trial hears

A Scottish statistician killed in a ‘bungalow’ turned to alcohol and painkillers after a car accident left him unable to work, a court has heard.

Ian Connell, 39, is said to have strangled Donald “Prentiss” Pattens, 45, after a row over money, and later returned to break into his property and take Mr Patens’ white Labradoodle, Layla.

Police were called to a “burglary in progress” at Mr Pattens’ home in Radcliffe, Greater Manchester, on August 22 after a postman saw Connell acting suspiciously.

When officers arrived, Connell had placed Layla in the road outside the address in Ainsworth Road and told them that Mr Patience was away in Scotland and had given him permission by phone to force entry because he needed to take his pet.

The Crown says this was the first of Connell’s “many lies” and that at some point on August 19 he killed him and then went on with his daily life “cruelly” while his victim’s body decomposed under a pink duvet cover. At the bottom of the stairs.

Connell is said to have been among a number of people who took advantage of Mr Patience’s “good nature” to borrow money.

Police officers outside Donald Pattens’ property in Ainsworth Road, Radcliffe in Greater Manchester

On Thursday, jurors in the murder trial at Manchester Crown Court were told more details about the life of Mr Patience, who was known to his family and friends by his middle name, Prentiss.

The court heard that he was born in the Highland town of Alness, and later graduated from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh as an actuary in 2001.

He found work doing statistical analysis for pensions but became unwell with the “high-pressure job” and had a short spell at the Priory Clinic.

Mr Pattens moved to Greater Manchester in around 2005 and set up a Domino’s pizza restaurant in Bury with one of his brothers, jurors were told.

In a statement read to the court, his ex-wife Kirsty Banks said she met him while working there and they later married in 2012 and had three children.

Ms Banks said Brent was involved in a car accident in 2015, which left him temporarily unable to work, and that he “started drinking more” and eventually became “addicted to painkillers”.

She said the couple had an argument when Mr Patience later rejected her pleas for him to return to work.

The court heard that Mr Patience had moved out of the family home in Bamburgh Close, Radcliffe, when she asked him to leave after Christmas 2017.

He later moved to the couple’s previous address in Ainsworth Road which they had been renting.

Ms Banks said her ex-husband began “hanging out” with former tenant Neil Flannery who she thought was “dodgy”.

“I blame Flannery for everything that happened to Brent,” she said. “It was Flannery who introduced Connell to Brent and all the other people he associated with.

“Flannery stuck with Brent. Brent never hid the fact that he had money. “He was very open about it.”

She said the house was “absolutely filled with the smell of cannabis” when she visited in July 2022. “I told Brent he needed to tidy himself up,” she said.

Domino’s former colleague Paul Parker told the court he received a Facebook message from Mr Patience in March 2023 asking for help after his car had been stolen and his phone had gone missing.

Parker said that when he called on Ainsworth Road, he did not enter the house, but saw that the inside was a “disarray.”

He continued: “There was foolishness everywhere. He looked skinny. He was like a homeless person. He had long hair and a beard. His dog, Laila, was not looking good and looked like she needed a bath.

“It looked like a hideout. I saw graffiti in the two reception rooms.”

The court was told Mr Pattens would often travel to Scotland to care for his father, also called Donald, who had Huntington’s disease.

“His father passed away during Covid and I think that affected Prentiss very hard,” Mr Parker said.

Mr Flannery told the court he was a friend of Mr Patience and visited him regularly after he left but added: “We haven’t had a lot of contact recently and that was really because of the people Prentiss was hanging out with and the things they were up to.” They were doing.”

He said he believed Connell was homeless and at one point ended up living on Ainsworth Road.

Mr Flannery stated: “On one occasion I took heroin with Connell at Prentice’s house last year. I believe I was also drinking at the time.”

“I woke up and realized this was not something I wanted to be involved with again, I decided to distance myself from Connell and therefore from Prentiss because he was living with him at the time.

“About three weeks before he died I was thinking of asking Prentiss to stay with me and my father. I felt he needed help and was suffering. Connell was not living there at the time as far as I know.

“It didn’t look like he was taking care of himself. It didn’t look like Prentiss was going out much.”

A witness statement was also read from Glen Denning, one of Connell’s associates, who said the pair used drugs together and that Connell regularly took money from a man he described as his “boss”.

He recalled an occasion when Connell complained that he was no longer receiving money, telling him: “He’s stopped giving me money. He’s taking the fucking piss. I don’t know why.”

Connell, of Duke Street, Bolton, denies murder.

He also pleaded not guilty to manslaughter.

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