Drug fiend who robbed and stabbed Wigan widower in own home jailed for murder

A Wigan conman who stabbed a pensioner to death in his own home after he duped them into taking stolen goods has been jailed for life.

David Dempsey, 43, of Kernishaw Nook, Astley, was found guilty of murder at a re-trial at Liverpool Crown Court today and was sentenced to life in prison, where he will serve a minimum of 30 years.

The incident occurred on Sunday August 25, when Dempsey went to 63-year-old Stephen Butterworth’s house on Diamond Street in Leigh, where he tried to sell him a gold watch.

After allowing Dempsey to leave the watch at the house, Mr Butterworth then left to spend the afternoon with a friend.

After giving his friend a lift home, he called at his niece’s house on the way back to his own.

He had told both his friend and his niece that he had been having problems with a man who had been to the house trying to sell him stolen goods.

At around 5.20pm, Mr Butterworth returned home, only to have Dempsey return to the door shortly after.

Dempsey was seen to put his foot in the door to prevent the door being closed and then walked into the house, pushing his victim backwards. 

Once inside he stabbed Mr Butterworth, twice in the front and twice in his back, before stealing his wallet containing around £400, and left the property.

Despite being in horrific pain, Mr Butterworth managed to call his niece to tell her he had been stabbed, before calling the emergency services.

He was taken to hospital for treatment of four stab wounds and a collapsed lung, but sadly never recovered from the attack and died in hospital a month later on Friday September 27.

Senior Investigating Officer Duncan Thorpe said: “Stephen’s wife had sadly died in June prior to this attack and it was after this that Dempsey began preying on Mr Butterworth. 

“Dempsey targeted him while he was grieving and would go to him to sell stolen items that he wanted to get rid of. 

“He discovered that Mr Butterworth had a substantial amount of cash at his home and it was this that led him back to his house that day. He saw it as an opportunity to steal cash to feed his drug addiction. 

“Dempsey went on to brutally attack Mr Butterworth in his own home and this has been an extremely difficult time for Stephen’s family and friends and our thoughts remain with them.” 

When the paramedics arrived at his house, he made it clear to them that he wasn’t willing to give a statement, but when his niece, who accompanied him to the hospital, asked who stabbed him, he replied: “Yes, it’s that man who came round about the watch earlier today.”

Inquiries revealed Dempsey, a drug addict from Astley, near Wigan, had been pestering Mr Butterworth with knock off goods.

Mr Butterworth’s family said in a statement: “Steve was a gentle and caring dad, granddad, brother and uncle. He was also a keen fisherman and friendly neighbour.

“Sadly, Steve recently became a widower when his wife of 36 years died unexpectedly and whilst grieving and struggling to come to terms with his loss, he was targeted and brutally attacked and robbed in his own home.”

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