A drug addict has been found guilty of manslaughter after he violently attacked an elderly man on Christmas Day.
Wayne Muirhead barged into victim Stephen Starkey’s home and punched him in the face before knocking him to the floor and breaking his collarbone.
The retired caretaker died after being violently attacked and robbed in his home in 2014.
Muirhead, of Batemoor Road, Batemoor, denied manslaughter and two offences of robbery but was convicted by a jury at Sheffield Crown Court.
Muirhead, aged 41, stole around £1,500 cash, a PlayStation and a mobile phone.
He then left Mr Starkey, 61, who lived alone, to seek help from a neighbour.
Mr Starkey, who weighed less than seven stone, died in hospital five days later.
On November 7, 2014, Muirhead also stole £280 from Mr Starkey after barging into his house.
Mr Starkey kept around £11,000 at his home.
Muirhead returned on Christmas Day morning to rob him again.
In a 999 call Mr Starkey said it was the same man who attacked him a few weeks earlier.”
A witness saw Muirhead running from the street ‘in a state of panic.’
Muirhead bumped into a neighbour and gave the man £20 to ring for a taxi to his girlfriend’s in Rotherham, the court heard. He was seen to count ‘rolls of money’ in the cab by the driver.
When police went to arrested Muirhead on December 31, the day after Mr Starkey died in Northern General Hospital, he was found hiding in a kitchen cupboard.
Mr Starkey had been a heavy drinker which had taken a toll on his liver.
He was given paracetamol to relieve pain while in hospital and it was thought he was well enough to be discharged.
But he reacted badly to the drug and suffered acute liver failure before dying from paracetamol toxicity on December 30.
Bryan Cox QC, prosecuting, said Muirhead’s attack ‘started the chain of events that led to Mr Starkey’s death’.
Muirhead – who will be sentenced next year – said he was on a ‘desperate’ search to buy drugs at the time of the attack on Mr Starkey’s death.
He said during his trial he was ‘in agony’ because of back pain, which led to him becoming addicted to morphine and later Class A drugs.