Murder of Chesterfield pensioner 'fed to the badgers' by killer - the crime that shocked a community

Chesterfield murderer Daniel Walsh was today (Monday, January 4) sentenced to serve at least 27 years in prison for killing and dismembering 71-year-old Graham Snell at his Marsden Street home in June last year.

Tuesday, 5th January 2021, 3:00 pm

In one of Derbyshire’s most brutal murders in recent times, it also proved to be a difficult and complex case for police officers.

Here is a timeline of events:-

2009: Daniel Walsh accessed Graham Snell’s bank accounts for the first time and was convinced of fraud.

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Graham Snell was murdered and dismembered by Daniel Walsh

2014: Daniel Walsh turned up at Mr Snell’s Marsden Street home under the influence of drink and drugs and punched him in the face when he tried to prevent him from coming inside.

2014-2019: Not much is known about the relationship between the two men between this period, but neighbours said that Walsh had stayed with Mr Snell on a number of occasions following the assault.

April 2019: Walsh again moved into Mr Snell’s home and set about trying to get his hands on his money. He claimed that Mr Snell had let him move in because the tenancy had expired on his own flat.

June 2019: Walsh had managed to access Mr Snell’s accounts, and had bought himself pizza and topped up his mobile phone with the pensioner’s money.

Daniel Walsh has been jailed for at least 27 years for the murder

June 19am: Walsh visited Chesterfield Library and used the free internet to set up online banking on Mr Snell’s account - adding his own mobile as the contact number. Graham Snell realised what he had done and went to the Halifax branch in Chesterfield and reported Walsh to the fraud team and later to police. It was arranged that an officer would attend the following day.

June 19pm: CCTV showed footage of both men arriving back at Marsden Street shortly after 1pm. At around 2.40pm Walsh made a call to his drug dealer and bought cocaine. Later that night he bought more cocaine and went out and purchased alcohol. Neighbours heard an argument between the two men, where Mr Snell was heard to repeatedly shout, “Get out, get out.” At some point after this, Walsh murdered Graham Snell.

June 20: A police officer called at Graham Snell’s home and left a note when he didn’t get a reply. Later that day, Walsh went to Wicks and bought two saws and 10 rubble sacks.

June 21: Walsh paid two visits to B&Q, buying 30 rubble sacks, a piece of wood and a burning bin. Over the next few days, he dismembered Mr Snell’s body. Later that day, Walsh went to Sheffield and visited a casino and massage parlour.

June 22: Neighbour David King knocked on Mr Snell’s door to tell him he was going on holiday. Walsh told him he was out shopping.

June 23: Walsh travelled to Birmingham to try and get an emergency passport.

June 24: Walsh took a taxi to remote woodland where he disposed of the rest of the remains - the majority down a badgers’ sett and Mr Snell’s head and arms some 60 metres away.

June 25: Walsh sold Mr Snell’s television and a set-top box.

June 27: Walsh disposed of more of Mr Snell’s remains in a communal bin at the flats complex where his brother lived and later went out drinking in the Calver area.

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June 28: Walsh posed as Graham Snell and set up telephone banking by claiming his cards had been stolen. He gave his own mobile number to the bank. In the hours and days that followed, Walsh moved hundreds of pounds of Mr Snell’s money into his own account, blowing the majority at casinos and in gaming arcades.

June 29: Mr King again pays a visit to see Mr Snell but is this time told by Walsh that the pensioner is in hospital. Mr King called Chesterfield Royal and asked to be put through to the ward where he had been told Mr Snell was on, only to be told it was the children’s ward.

June 30: Mr King called Chesterfield Royal again and was told Mr Snell was not a patient at the hospital. He made calls to hospitals in Sheffield, but was told that Mr Snell was not a patient at either. Along with two other neighbours, Mr King then called the police to report Mr Snell missing.

June 28: Walsh is arrested on suspicion of murder and tells police that Mr Snell is in hospital in Sheffield, and had visited him three days earlier. Eventually, after several days of questioning, Walsh is charged with murder.

July 2019: Police attended woodland where the majority of Mr Snell’s remains were discovered.

January 2020: Walsh changes his story, claiming that he had dismembered Mr Snell after he had found him dead at home. He claimed they had consumed a significant amount of alcohol and cocaine, and he ‘panicked’ and thought he would get the blame for Mr Snell’s death.

February 2020: Walsh finally gives information that leads police to the discovery of Mr Snell’s head and arms.

March 2020: Walsh’s murder trial begins at Derby Crown Court, but has to be halted after eight days due to complications caused by the outbreak of the Covid pandemic.

April 7, 2020: Graham Snell’s funeral takes place at Chesterfield Crematorium.

November 2020: The trial begins again and runs for approximately three weeks with a fresh jury and a replaced defence barrister. Walsh is found guilty of murder after about an hour of deliberations on December 11.

December 14, 2020: The court resumes for Walsh to be sentenced. He initially refused to get on the prison bus, having earlier sacked his entire legal team. He later appeared via videolink where he said he wanted legal representation before he was sentenced. He is given two weeks to put a new legal team in place.

January 4: Walsh is again due to appear to be sentenced but again refuses to attend. The court is told that his new solicitors need at least a month to prepare his mitigation. They are told to brief Walsh’s original barrister from his initial trial in March. Walsh refuses his services and is sentenced to a minimum term of 27 years in prison without legal representation.

Editor’s message: In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.