A Bolton man has pleaded not guilty to murdering a man in Radcliffe who was found after police were called to reports of a theft of a white labradoodle.

Police were called to the home of Donald Patience, 45, on Ainsworth Road on the morning of August 22 after reports a dog had been stolen.

Mr Patience was found dead as officers searched the end terrace property.

He was described as a "much-loved son, brother and father" who "will be sorely missed by many".

Ian Connell, 39, of Duke Street, Bolton was subsequently charged with murder.

He appeared at Manchester Crown Court this morning, Friday, accused of carrying out the murder between August 19 and 23 last year.

He pleaded not guilty to murder and to the lesser charge of manslaughter.

A trial, expected to last seven days, was fixed for February next year.

A pre-trial review was also set for January.

Judge John Potter remanded Connell back into custody.

He said: "Mr Connell you have pleaded not guilty, your case will proceed to a trial.

"Keep in touch with your lawyers, make sure the case is ready not just for the pretrial review in January but also for the trial."

Police revealed in the aftermath of the death of Mr Patience the dog was being looked after by the relevant authority.