THE devastated partner of a man who was murdered over a drug debt has spoken of the impact his death has had on her and their two children.

A statement from Karen Nuttall, the partner of Ian Bendall, was read during the sentencing hearing of three men for their involvement in his death.

She said it broke her heart that their four-year-old twin sons would never see the dad they worshipped again.

“He was not an angel but he didn’t deserve to die like he did,” she said.

Alex Colgan, also known as Smith, aged 29 of Ramsay Avenue, Farnworth, have been found guilty of murder and William Coughlan, aged 26 also of Ramsay Avenue and Ellis Hampson, aged 19 of Oakfield Drive Little Hulton were found guilty of manslaughter.

Miss Nuttall and Mr Bendall lived together in Tennyson Drive, Farnworth, but he had moved out around a week before his death on June 12 because he had started taking heroin again.

Miss Nuttall’s statement said Mr Bendall had been to prison before they met around 10 years ago and she had told him that was not the way she wanted to live.

Cheeky chappy whose problem with drugs cost him his life

Reading the statement, Prosecutor, Michelle Colborne QC, said: “Ian was a really bubbly person, he was full of life. There was always a smile on his face.

“He never went back to prison. He tried so hard to turn his life around and be the person I wanted him to be.”

Mr Bendall had been born in Flintshire and had four children who lived in Wales.

She said: “He lost touch with his children by the time we got together. I set him up a Facebook page for him and he managed to get in touch with them. He was very proud of them.”

In 2012 Miss Nuttall and Mr Bendall discovered she was pregnant with twins and they were born the following year.

The statement said: “He was over the moon when the twins were born.

“He wanted to be the best dad ever and tried so hard to get off the drugs. Me and Ian weren’t living in the same place because he had fallen off the wagon and was using heroin.

“The boys worshipped him. For all Ian’s faults he was always a great dad. The twins are now four years old and miss their dad so much. It breaks my heart that they will never see him again.

The trial heard how Mr Bendall, aged 43, owed Colgan £300 because he had been dealing drugs for him.

Ian Bendall murderer jailed for 27 years

A search was launched and on June 9 Mr Bendall was taken from Masefield Drive, Farnworth, to an area behind Century Mill, George Street, and was kicked and stamped on before dying in hospital a few days later.

His Honour Judge David Stockdale QC adjourned the sentencing until this morning when Colgan faces a life sentence.