Drug addict and meat thief denies stabbing Leigh widower

Leigh Journal: Steven Butterworth Steven Butterworth

A MAN accused of stabbing an acquaintance to death has told a jury that he was not the culprit.

David Dempsey admitted that the drugs world could be violent but maintained that he had "never" used violence.

He is alleged to have caused fatal stab wounds to recently widowed Steven Butterworth, aged 62, at his home in Leigh on August 25 last year.

Dempsey, whose nickname is Clarkie, of Kermishaw Nook, Astley, has pleaded not guilty to murder.

Giving evidence Dempsey, aged 42, told a Liverpool Crown Court jury that he had met Mr Butterworth on three occasions, the last time being about five days before the stabbing.

He said that he has convictions relating to his drug abuse and theft but none for violence, knife crimes or threatening violence.

"I have been stopped a lot of times by the police but never stopped in possession of a knife or for a knife offence," he said.

He admitted stealing meat to sell to pay for his drugs habit and said he would "steal to order". The court has heard about "a meat man" but Dempsey said that was someone else.

Dempsey said he had been introduced to the murder victim when his friend Neil Pearson took him to Mr Butterworth's home in Diamond Street, Leigh, as Dempsey had meat to sell.

Two weeks later he was struggling to sell meat he had stolen and he and another friend went round to Mr Butterworth's home and sold it to him.

Further questioned by his QC Ben Myers, Dempsey said he went round again with a vacuum cleaner to sell and his friend sold Mr Butterworth cannabis.

Dempsey said he had not seen or stabbed Mr Butterworth on August 25 but admitted lying to police when he was arrested on September 1 on the suspected attempted murder of Mr Butterworth by saying he did not know him at all.

The court has heard a witness allege that Dempsey admitted to him that he had stabbed someone and saw him bundle his t-shirt into a bush.

Dempsey said that he had taken washing, including the t-shirt, round to a friend's home on August 25 but they had a row and he never got the washing back.

The jury has heard that Mr Butterworth was stabbed at his home and died in hospital from his injuries just over one month later on September 27.

The trial continues.

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