A man has denied the murder of a dog owner whose body was found by police after reports his white labradoodle had been stolen. Greater Manchester Police officers were called out to the home of Donald Patience, 45, in response to sightings that his pet was being taken from the address.

Mr Patience was discovered as police searched the end terrace property in Ainsworth Road, Radcliffe, on the morning of August 22. On Friday, Ian Connell, 39, from Duke Street, Bolton, appeared at Manchester Crown Court where he pleaded not guilty to the murder of Mr Patience.

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He also denied his manslaughter. Connell was further remanded in custody ahead of a pre-trial review on January 15.

A trial date was provisionally set for February 12. Following his death, the family of Mr Patience, who was affectionately known as Prentice, described him as a 'much-loved son, brother and father.'

The labradoodle was recovered into the care of the relevant authority, police said.