FURNITURE company boss John Butler was today cleared by a jury of murdering his partner of 40 years in a sustained knife attack at her home.

Butler, 62, was overcome with emotion in the dock at Leeds Crown Court this afternoon when the unanimous verdict was returned.

Butler, who ran the family firm Kettley’s Furniture Centre in Yeadon, had pleaded guilty to the manslaughter on April 14, of Pauline Butler, 61, before the start of the trial.

He will be sentenced at 11am tomorrow by the judge, Mr Justice Edis.

The jury of nine women and three men began their deliberations late on Monday morning. The trial did not sit yesterday and jurors returned their verdict shortly before 4pm today.

Butler, who was wearing a smart, dark suit, sat with his head in his hands for the short hearing.