Sheffield dad died after being violently attacked and robbed on Christmas Day, court hears

Stephen Starkey
Stephen Starkey
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A retired caretaker died after being violently attacked and robbed in his home on Christmas Day, a court heard.

Alleged killer Wayne Muirhead barged in to victim Stephen Starkey’s home and punched him in the face before knocking him to the floor and breaking his collar-bone, a jury was told.

Sheffield Crown Court heard Muirhead, aged 41, stole around £1,500 cash, a Play Station and a mobile phone. He then allegedly left Mr Starkey, 61, who lived alone, to seek help from a neighbour.

Mr Starkey, who weighed less than seven stones, died in hospital five days later.

Muirhead, of Batemoor Road, Batemoor, denies manslaughter and two offences of robbery.

On November 7, 2014, Muirhead allegedly stole £280 from Mr Starkey after barging into his house.

Mr Starkey kept around £11,000 cash in his home.

Muirhead allegedly returned on Christmas Day morning 2014 to rob Mr Starkey again. In a 999 call at 10.53am, Mr Starkey reported the incident to police.

Bryan Cox QC, prosecuting, said: “He 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 allegedly seen to count ‘rolls of money’ in the cab by the driver.

Police arrested Muirhead on December 31, the day after Mr Starkey died in Northern General Hospital.

He was found hiding in a kitchen cupboard.

The court heard Mr Starkey had been a heavy drinker and it had taken a toll on his liver.

He was given paracetamol to relieve his pain while in hospital and it was thought he was well enough to be discharged.

But he then reacted adversely to the drug and suffered acute liver failure before dying from paracetamol toxicity on December 30.

Mr Cox told the jury: “The issue you will have to decide is what caused the liver to fail.”

The prosecution claim Muirhead was responsible for the Christmas Day robbery.

“It started the chain of events that led to Mr Starkey’s death,” Mr Cox said.

“The fracture caused the doctors to prescribe painkillers which caused the liver failure which led to his death.

“On that basis he is guilty of manslaughter.”

The trial continues.