Murder probe launched as man found dead after dog theft

Murder probe launched as man found dead after dog theft

A murder investigation has been launched after a man was found dead when police were called to reports of a labradoodle being snatched in a burglary.

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said officers were called to an address in Ainsworth Road in Radcliffe, Bury, at around 10.30am on Tuesday to reports of a burglary, with a white labradoodle dog being taken.

Donald “Prentice” Patience, 45, was declared dead at the scene and a post-mortem examination concluded the death was suspicious.

Three men were arrested on suspicion of murder, and two, aged 27 and 41, have since been released on bail.

Police said a 39-year-old man remains in police custody.

On Friday, the house remained cordoned off and forensic officers were coming in and out of the address.

The back window of the house was smashed and blue tarpaulin could be seen in the back yard.

Flowers had been left by the back wall of the house.

A man from a nearby street, who did not want to be named, said: “I was coming out of my house in the morning and there were police all over the road.

“There was a man, about 6ft in a grey jacket, who had been arrested, and a curly dog.

“They were in the back of a police van.

“I just thought there had been a bit of an argument or something but then the next thing there were forensics everywhere so I knew it must be serious.”

Another neighbour said: “The police have been here since Tuesday and there’s an officer there 24 hours a day outside the house.

“An officer came on Wednesday and asked me if I knew the man. They came again yesterday and that’s when they told me it was a murder inquiry.”

Mr Patience’s loved ones described him as “a much-loved son, brother and father” who “will be sorely missed by many”.

The dog is currently being looked after by the relevant authority, police said.

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 inquiries 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.”

Ms Smith said police are looking for anyone who knew Mr Patience, saw him walking his labradoodle in the local area or have any knowledge of any activity at or near his address since Friday August 18.

Anyone with information has been asked to contact GMP’s Major Incident Team on 0161 856 3635 or 101, quoting incident number 1139 of 22/08/2023.