A murder suspect made a series of calls and messages including saying “please mate, love you” to a man later found dead, a court heard.

Donald Patience, 45, was found dead and decomposing at his home on Ainsworth Road, Radcliffe by police in August last year.

Ian Connell, 39, has since been charged with his murder and a trial that started this week heard how he had been seen walking Mr Patience’s dog and had previously appeared to ask for money.

Reading the texts out to the jury, prosecutor Michael Hayton KC said: "Mate please, I am stood at cash machine, the shop shuts soon, please we've had nothing to eat either, please mate."

Another of the texts said: "Please mate, love you, please."

The Bolton News: Police officers at the scene last summerPolice officers at the scene last summer (Image: Newsquest)

Mr Hayton asked police staff member Faye Jones about a series of calls and messages made from Connell to Mr Patience.

These included calls forwarded to voice mail, text messages and a half an hour phone call on August 17.

During that phone call to Connell, Mr Hayton said that data showed that Mr Patience had accessed a banking app.

Mr Patience was found dead under a duvet at the bottom of his stairs on August 22 last year.

The Bolton News: A floral tribute left at the sceneA floral tribute left at the scene (Image: Newsquest)

Earlier, the court heard evidence from police officers who had been called to a suspected burglary after Connell was seen climbing into Mr Patience’s home through the window.

Connell was then seen walking Mr Patience’s dog, a white labradoodle and was arrested on suspicion of burglary.

PC Jordan Heywood, who took part in the arrest, told the court he recognised the dog from a previous encounter with Mr Patience and had a conversation with Connell in the police van.

He said: "He explained that he worked for Mr Patience."

He added: "He said he was something to do with property."

When PC Heywood asked why he was with Mr Patience's dog, Connell said he had been asked to walk the dog for him.

Connell claimed that Mr Patience was "in Scotland".

Mr Hayton read the court a statement from PC Paul Aspinall who found Mr Patience’s body under what looked like a pink duvet when searching the house.

He said: "In doing so I stepped onto what I thought was the pink covered duvet at the bottom of the stairs and in doing so thought it didn't feel right."

He added: "As I touched the duvet something moved as if in slow motion and that's when I realised that someone or something was inside."

He said looking inside he saw a pale pair of legs and the bloated stomach of a person and that "the smell was unbearable."

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PC Aspinall said when looking at the face he could not tell if the body was Mr Patience or not. 

Paramedics were called and the man was declared dead at 12.10pm that day.

The body was later formally identified as that of Mr Patience and a post-mortem found that he had died from “sustained pressure to the neck.”

Connell, of Duke Street, Bolton, who was dressed in a grey t-shirt, denies charges of both murder and manslaughter.

The trial before Mrs Justice Naomi Ellenbogen DBE continues.