A MAN has denied murdering a dog owner whose body was found after his pet labradoodle was allegedly stolen from his home.
Donald 'Prentice' Patience, 45, lay dead for "several days" before he was discovered in Radcliffe, Greater Manchester.
Police had been called to his home following reports his white labradoodle Layla had been taken.
Ian Connell appeared at Manchester Crown Court today where he denied murder and manslaughter.
The 39-year-old was remanded into custody to next appear at the same court on January 15.
A provisional trial date was set for February 12.
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Greater Manchester Police were called to the home on August 22 after reports of a burglary.
An inquest was told a passer-by saw an "unknown man" coming from the property with Donald's dog and alerted officers.
They tragically discovered Donald dead inside and launched a murder probe.
A post mortem has been carried out on the owner, who was identified through his fingerprints, but no cause of death has been established.
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The pet dog was later found and is now being cared for by the relevant authority.
Donald's family described him as "a much-loved son, brother and father" who will be "sorely missed by many".
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