Pair who tortured and killed man, 61, in own home for drug money jailed for life

Will Taylor
·News Reporter
·2-min read
Craig Stanton and Alexander Mackay have been jailed for murdering Saleem Butt, right. (PA/West Yorkshire Police)
Craig Stanton and Alexander Mackay have been jailed for murdering Saleem Butt, right. (PA/West Yorkshire Police)

Two career criminals have been jailed for life for murdering and torturing a man in an ordeal that lasted up to an hour.

Saleem Butt was subjected to a “horrific sustained attack” that involved a knife and screwdriver, police said.

Craig Stanton, 43, and Alexander Mackay, 47, broke in to his home looking for cash to buy drugs before gagging and tying up Butt in such a way that if he struggled the rope would tighten around his neck, Leeds Crown Court heard.

His wrists were tied and a pair of shorts were put into his mouth, and he suffered repeated blows from punches, slaps, kicks or a weapon.

Evidence showed Butt was alive for at least 30 minutes after first being attacked.

Craig Stanton (left) and Alexander Mackay who have been jailed for life at Leeds Crown Court. (PA/West Yorkshire police)
Craig Stanton (left) and Alexander Mackay who have been jailed for life at Leeds Crown Court. (PA/West Yorkshire police)

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A knife and screwdriver were used to torture him and get information about the home and cash, and the “lonely” victim eventually died from asphyxia, the court heard.

The body of the popular, community-spirited 61-year-old was found at his home in Batley, West Yorkshire, on 23 April.

Judge Rodney Jameson QC, sentencing on Monday, said it was unknown if Butt died before Stanton and Mackay left, or if they left him to die.

“If he was alive, he was plainly incapable of calling for help,” the judge added.

Saleem Butt was tortured and killed in his home. (PA/West Yorkshire Police)
Saleem Butt was tortured and killed in his home. (PA/West Yorkshire Police)

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Both men, who have long criminal records, drank alcohol and probably smoked crack cocaine before the attack, the court heard.

The judge said: “Neither of you have ever told the truth about what happened during that hour.”

Stanton, of Huddersfield, was given a minimum of 25 years and Mackay, of Dewsbury Moor, was given a minimum term of 23 years.

In a victim statement read to the court, a son of Butt described the pain of imagining what their father went through.

Detective Chief Inspector Tony Nicholson, of West Yorkshire Police, previously said the attack was “an awful offence committed against a man described as lovely and very gentle by those who knew him”.

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