A generous man was ‘strangled to death’ by his neighbour after refusing to give him money to buy drugs, a court has heard.
Andrew Kelly, aged 51, was found dead in his home on Victoria Street, Goldthorpe, on December 2.
Mr Kelly’s neighbour, Paul Craig Neatby is accused of robbing him of a wallet and cash and murdering him on December 1.
The court heard that Mr Kelly suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease which badly affected his mobility and his breathing.
Around six weeks before his died, he received a back payment of disability benefit of around £2,400.
Mr Benjamin Nolan, prosecuting, said: “Although he lived on benefits, he was known to be generous with money and was something of a soft touch to borrow money from.
“The defendant lived next door to the deceased with his partner Lisa Lakenby, both were heroin addicts.”
He told the court that Neatby and Lakenby knew Mr Kelly’s bank details and it is thought they stole £170 from his bank account two days before he died.
Mr Kelly reported the theft to police at the time and after his death investigations continued. Lisa Lakenby was arrested on December 16 in connection with the theft.
It was during a later police interview in January that she revealed that Neatby had admitted killing Mr Kelly.
Mr Nolan said: “She spoke of the defendant going to the deceased’s house at around 10pm on December 1 to borrow £20 for drugs.
“She heard the deceased refusing to lend any more money. She also heard the deceased say ‘get your arm off me’. She then left the house looking for cigarettes.
“When she returned the defendant had the deceased’s wallet and told her ‘I think I’ve killed him’. He said he had given him a ‘sleeper’, explaining he had put his arm around his neck, held his forehead and counted to 20 at which point the deceased collapsed.”
Mr Nolan told the court that on December 2. Mr Kelly’s friend Edward Snowball knocked on the victim’s door at 10am, but he received no response.
He returned two hours later, but there was still no reply. His knocking brought the defendant to his own door and he told him that he had not seen Mr Kelly, but his back door was open.
The pair went through Mr Kelly’s back door and found him laying on his living room floor.
Paramedics and police were called to the scene and Mr Kelly was pronounced dead a short time later.
Neatby, aged 34, of Victoria Street, was later arrested and charged with murder. He pleaded not guilty to murder and robbery. The trial at Sheffield Crown Court continues.