Leeds furniture shop owner to go on trial for murder

John Butler.

John Butler.

The owner of a furniture company which featured in a national TV show is to go on trial accused of his estranged wife’s murder.

John Butler yesterday (July 4) admitted the manslaughter of Pauline Butler but pleaded not guilty to murder when he appeared before Leeds Crown Court.

Ms Butler, 61, was found dead from multiple stab wounds at a property on Cherry Lea Court in Rawdon on April 14.

Butler appeared at the court via a video link from Armley Prison for a plea and case management hearing.

The 62-year-old entered a not guilty plea when the murder charge was put to him but said he pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

David Crigman, QC, representing Butler, said: “The basis of that plea is one, lack of intent, two, loss of control, and three, if appropriate, diminished responsibility.” Mr Crigman told the court psychiatric investigations were ongoing and no application for bail was made.

Michelle Colborne, prosecuting, said the pleas were not acceptable to the crown and a murder trial would have to be held.

Judge Geoffrey Marson, QC, told Butler: “Your trial will take place on October 13 and for the time being you will have to remain in custody.”

Butler, of Larkfield Road, Rawdon, was the head of family-run Kettley’s Furniture in Yeadon. Established in 1946, the Ivegate shop has been in his family for several decades. In 2012 it came to national attention when it was the subject of BBC Two show The Fixer, in which businesswoman Alex Polizzi attempted to help revive the firm’s fortunes.

After Ms Butler’s death, son David vowed to fight for the future of the family business

Speaking of his loss, he described his mother as “the kindest person you could ever meet”. He said: “She would have wanted the business to carry on, she wouldn’t want us to just give up.”


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