Chesterfield man who killed pensioner and 'fed him to the badgers' found guilty of murder
The Chesterfield man who was on trial for killing and dismembering pensioner Graham Snell has been found guilty of murder.
The jury were out for a little over an hour before returning and finding Daniel Walsh guilty by unanimous verdict.
Walsh murdered the 71-year-old at the house they had been sharing in Marsden Street, after Mr Snell discovered the defendant had accessed his bank account and stolen money, and notified the bank at the police.
A police officer was due to come out to Mr Snell’s home the following morning, but Walsh murdered him overnight before the officer arrived – and butchered his body.
He then accessed Mr Snell’s account by setting up phone banking, before transferring cash into his own account, going on trips to Sheffield to a casino and massage parlour, as well as Matlock Bath to gamble on the arcades.
The court had been told that Walsh had gone to DIY stores around Chesterfield and purchased saws, building sacks and a burning bin, and sawed Mr Snell into ten pieces, “feeding the majority to the badgers” in remote woodland.
Other body parts were discovered in a communal bin outside a flats complex where Walsh had briefly lived with his brother, and it wasn’t until February of this year - more than six months after Mr Snell had been killed on June 19, 2019 - that he told police where they could find his head.
Walsh had then tried to get his hands on an emergency passport to flee the country and span police a bundled account about the pensioner being in hospital, when he was arrested after neighbours finally reported Mr Snell missing.
He changed his account in February, saying that he had found Mr Snell dead in the toilet after a drinking session, and had panicked because he had been taking cocaine and thought he would be implicated in Mr Snell’s death.
And giving evidence in his own defence earlier this week, he changed his story again - claiming the pensioner had been taking cocaine the night before he died.
Prosecuting earlier in the trial, Peter Joyce QC told the court: “The cause of death is unascertainable because there were so many body parts, but we know what he did. He killed him, he chopped him up and fed him to the badgers. It was murder to get his hands on this man’s money.”
Speaking later in proceedings, and describing Walsh’s account, Mr Joyce said: “It's all complete and utter nonsense. If he was telling the truth he'd be able to tell you what happened, but he can't. If he's got an account that is truthful, that is honest, why can't he get it right? Because his complete story is a lie. It's complete baloney and he's trying to persuade you that it's true. He's taking you to be gullible fools.
"He said that Graham Snell had taken cocaine on the night he died. WOW! Why not mention that before yesterday? Because he has to make up a reason for Mr Snell being found dead, and he had to make up a reason for not reporting it."
Speaking after the verdict, Detective Chief Inspector Sally Blaiklock, who led the investigation into the murder of Mr Snell, said: “The depraved acts that Daniel Walsh carried out on Graham Snell, a retired pensioner; a quiet man and a good neighbour, are truly shocking.
“To compound that this is that they were carried out for his own self-preservation and so he could spend Graham’s small amount of savings at massage parlours, in casinos and on drink and drugs.
“After several years in policing, and seeing some of the worst crimes imaginable, I have often thought there is little that could surprise me - but then we came across Daniel Walsh.
“The evidence the team uncovered during the investigation has been extremely distressing for those working on the case and those that have had to listen to evidence in court.
“I welcome today’s verdict and hope that this allow Graham’s family, friends and neighbours to come to terms with what happened to a much-loved man who will never be forgotten.
“I would like to put on record my thanks to the investigation team and the search teams whose tenacity and resilience, in the most unpleasant of circumstances, have allowed Graham to be laid to rest with the dignity he deserves.
"I would also like to thank the prosecution team for their professional delivery of the evidence.
“Today I want to focus on remembering Graham and commend those who knew him and those that we effected by this investigation that stepped up and supported the police.
“While I remain utterly appalled by the circumstances of Graham’s death I have been consoled by the power of the local community, of the friendship and love of those who knew him and the good neighbours who looked out Graham even after his death.”
Walsh will be sentenced on Monday.