Scots dad killed after alleged dognapping, inquest hears

A Scots dad was found dead in his home after a passer-by reported seeing an unknown man leaving with his dog, an inquest heard. Donald Prentice Patience, 45, originally from Alness, was discovered on Ainsworth Road in Radcliffe, near Bury, on Tuesday, August 22.

Murder charge and trial date

A man has been charged with murder in connection with Mr Patience’s death. Ian Gary Connell, 39, of Duke Street, Bolton, appeared at Manchester and Salford magistrates court on August 26 and was remanded in custody. He is due to stand trial on February 24 next year.

Two other men, aged 27 and 41, who were also arrested on suspicion of murder, have been bailed pending further enquiries, Greater Manchester Police said.

Cause of death unknown

The inquest into Mr Patience’s death was opened and adjourned at Rochdale Coroner’s Court on Thursday. Police coroner’s officer, Kathy Dixon, said a Home Office post-mortem examination has been held, but no cause of death has been established as yet.

Scots dad killed after alleged dognapping

She said a ‘passer-by’ saw an ‘unknown man’ coming out of Mr Patience’s home ‘with his dog’ on the day and alerted police. Officers attended and made an arrest, the inquest heard. Ms Dixon said Mr Patience’s body was subsequently discovered inside and paramedics went on to ‘diagnose his death’.

Family tribute

In a tribute issued through Greater Manchester Police, Mr Patience’s family said he was a ‘much-loved son, brother and father and will be sorely missed by many, affectionately known as Prentice’.

They added: “He was a kind, gentle and caring person who always put others before himself. He loved his dog, who was his best friend and companion. He enjoyed fishing, gardening and spending time with his family and friends. He had a great sense of humour and a big heart. He will always be in our thoughts and prayers.”

Dog involved

It is understood that the dog involved in the alleged dognapping is a white labradoodle. The dog’s name and whereabouts are not known at this stage. Dognapping is a term used to describe the theft of dogs, often for ransom or resale.

According to the charity DogLost, there has been a surge in dognapping cases in the UK during the Covid-19 pandemic, as the demand and prices for dogs have increased. The charity recorded 465 stolen dogs in 2020, up from 172 in 2019.

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