A MAN accused of murdering Bradford grandfather Clement 'Butch' Desmier admitted to a jury that he was a "thug" who had caused mayhem with the English Defence League.

David Lawler, 33, confessed that he had slit a man's throat with a Stanley knife at a party - only nine days after 68-year-old Mr Desmier was killed - and had lied to a jury about it.

But he insisted he was probably asleep at home at the time of the murder.

Lawler, formerly of Central Avenue, Shipley, has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Clement Desmier, known as Butch, who was asphyxiated and repeatedly stabbed in his armchair, at home in Rowlestone Rise, Greengates, in the early hours of August 23, 2012.

He has also denied intimidating his former girlfriend, Antoinette Wilson, who has told the court that Lawler confessed to her that he had committed the murder, with co-accused Nathan Jefferson, 20, who has admitted the charge.

Giving evidence at Bradford Crown Court yesterday, Lawler admitted he had lied to a jury about the throat slashing incident - claiming he had not been at the party - because he did not want to go to prison. But he was convicted of wounding with intent and sentenced to a ten year extended prison sentence.

He told the jury he had had a previous altercation with the victim of the wounding, who he described as a thug.

Asked by his barrister, Richard Carey-Hughes QC: "What about you?" Lawler replied: "I am a thug as well."

Lawler admitted that he had a conviction for violent disorder after he went out with a group of English Defence League followers and "caused mayhem" in Heckmondwike in March 2011.

He said he had a volatile relationship with Miss Wilson and there was violence between them. He was ashamed of his behaviour towards her.

He admitted smoking cannabis, which had affected his memory around the time of the murder.

Lawler said he knew of Mr Desmier and had seen him selling tobacco and Viagra in the pubs, but had never really spoken to him and had never visited his house.

Asked by Mr Carey-Hughes where he was in the early hours of the morning that Mr Desmier was murdered, he replied: "Probably asleep."

He said he would have been at home or at a friend's house.

He said Miss Wilson thought he was "acting dodgy" and asked if he had anything to do with the murder.

"I laughed it off," he told the court.

Asked by his barrister: "What, if anything, did you tell Antoinette about your involvement in Butch Desmier's murder, Lawler replied: "Nothing."

And asked whether he had made threats to her of gang rape, using acid and torturing children, he said: "I would never, ever threaten a child. I would never threaten a woman with sexual violence."

The trial continues.