The boss of a furniture company which featured in a national television programme has denied the murder of his estranged wife but admitted unlawfully killing her.
John David Butler, 62, of Larkfield Road, Rawdon, who was the head of the family run Kettley’s Furniture Centre in Yeadon, appeared at Leeds Crown Court yesterday via a video link from Armley prison.
He confirmed his identification and when the charge was put to him that on April 14 this year he murdered Pauline Butler he pleaded not guilty but guilty to her manslaughter.
His counsel David Crigman QC told the court: “The basis of that plea is 1. Lack of intent, 2. Loss of control and 3. If appropriate, diminished responsibility.” He said psychiatric investigation was continuing.
Michelle Colborne QC prosecuting said that plea was not acceptable to the Crown and there would still be a trial.
No application was made for bail during the 10 minute hearing and 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.”
Pauline Butler, 61 was found dead from stab wounds at her home on Cherry Lea Court, Rawdon.
Kettley’s became the subject of national attention in 2012 when it appeared in the BBC’s The Fixer series in which celebrity consultant Alex Polizzi helped to modernise the business.
The store was closed for a week in April after the death of Pauline Butler, who was listed as a company director. A sign in the window read “Closed until Tuesday April 22 due to family bereavement”.
But, in May, the Telegraph & Argus reported how the store had vowed to carry on.
At that stage, the couple's niece Nicola Davison stressed the business - which she runs with her brother Andrew Collop and cousin David Butler - would continue to operate as normal despite the recent events.
She said: "John has obviously been here a long time but his health had deteriorated and he had taken more of a back seat."
"We have all been here long enough to know what we are doing and we have very good staff as well.
"We are determined we want to keep the business on - It won't be run any differently at all."
John Butler has been described as the owner of the business but Nicola stressed the family members involved in running the company all had their own equal shares in it.
She said the family had been badly hit by Mrs Butler's death.
"It was such a shock to us all, and we want to thank people for their support, " she added.