A VIOLENT EDL thug who slashed a man's throat has been convicted of murdering a Bradford grandfather.

The brutal killing was today described as a "horrifying and savage attack on a sick and defenceless man, in his own home."

A jury of seven men and five women this morning returned its unanimous verdict following a two-week trial at Bradford Crown Court.

Clement 'Butch' Desmier, 68, was murdered at his home in Rowlestone Rise, Greengates, on August 23, 2012.

Today, his family said the death and what he must have suffered in his final moments would haunt them forever.

During the trial, forensic pathologist Dr Christopher Johnson said the cause of death was multiple injuries, including stab wounds.

Dr Johnson said it was highly likely Mr Desmier's injuries - which included 60 penetrative puncture wounds to his body from a screwdriver and a single typical knife stab wound to his abdomen - were inflicted while he was sat in his armchair, in the front room of his home.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Killer David Lawler (pictured above), formerly of Central Avenue, Shipley, was also today found guilty of two counts of intimidation, relating to a witness who gave evidence.

The 33-year-old, who was wearing a grey suit, pale blue shirt and blue spotted tie, showed no emotion as the verdicts were given, but there were cries of 'yes' from the public gallery.

Co-accused Nathan Jefferson (pictured below), 20, of Springwell View, Holbeck, Leeds, admitted the murder charge before the start of the trial.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Mr Justice Blake said both men would be sentenced on Wednesday, March 23.

Earlier in the trial Lawler had admitted to the jury that he was an EDL thug who had also slit a man's throat, but denied the murder.


Today's convictions bring an end to an investigation which started almost four years ago. 

It began on 23 August 2012 when Mr Desmier, was found dead by a neighbour. He had been the victim of a sustained and violent attack, suffering over 70 separate injuries, including a number of stab wounds.

A number of appeals followed in local and national media and posters were distributed in the local area.

Crimestoppers put up rewards of £5,000 and £10,000 in return for information and a reconstruction of the murder featured on the BBC's Crimewatch programme.

On the first anniversary of Mr Desmier's death, officers set up a mobile police station in Ravenscliffe. A multimedia van was also used to display images and videos of Mr Desmier, which were accompanied by appeals from his family.

Further appeals were also made through family members on poignant occasions, such as what would have been Mr Desmier's 70th birthday and the Christmas/New Year periods. 

The breakthrough in the case came in September 2014 shortly after the second anniversary of Mr Desmier’s death, when information was received indicating that Jefferson and Lawler may have been responsible for the murder.

A detailed and meticulously planned investigation began, which eventually led to their arrests - Jefferson in January 2015, Lawler shortly afterwards in March 2015 - before both were charged last September with murder and robbery.

Speaking after the verdict, Senior Investigating Officer Detective Chief Superintendent Mark Ridley, said: "This lengthy and complex investigation has seen the team use a wide range of tactics, some of which are only available for the most difficult and serious of inquiries, to establish who was responsible for the killing of Mr Desmier, known to his friends and family as Butch.

"The continued determination and tenacity of the investigation team over the last three and a half years has enabled a case to be built and presented to prosecutors which resulted in Jefferson admitting responsibility for, and Lawler being found guilty of this brutal and sustained attack on a vulnerable, elderly man in his own home.

"Butch was well known in his local community and should have been celebrating his 72nd birthday this month with family and friends.

"I hope that the successful conclusion of this case today will finally provide Butch’s family and friends with some closure to what has been a very traumatic time for them."

A statement from the Desmier family, said: "Today sees the end of a three and a half year agonising wait to identify those responsible for the brutal murder of our father.  

"The loss of our father has had a devastating impact on our lives. The fact that he was a vulnerable old age pensioner, viciously attacked in his own home with weapons, will haunt us all for the rest of our lives.

"Two ruthless individuals with no regard for life ripped our lives apart that day and we will never recover from that.

"We would like to praise the brave individuals that came forward and provided information to the police investigation about Lawler and Jefferson’s involvement. Their courage assisted with the conviction of these two individuals which will hopefully allow our father to finally rest in peace.

"We would also like to thank West Yorkshire Police for their unrelenting determination to bring those responsible to justice. They have been an immense support to our family throughout this difficult time. They never gave up and for that we will be forever grateful."

Julian Briggs, from the Complex Casework Unit, CPS Yorkshire and Humberside, said: “In the early hours of Thursday 23, August 2012, Clement Desmier was asphyxiated and repeatedly stabbed in a frenzied attack in which over 60 injuries were inflicted on him.  

"This was a horrifying and savage attack on a sick and defenceless man, in his own home.

“There followed a thorough  long-running police investigation, including a reconstruction on Crimewatch.

"Eventually  overwhelming evidence was gathered from a number of witnesses, in respect of both defendants.  Both men independently confessed to others their involvement in the murder. And when analysed,  these accounts independently supported one another. The evidence against Jefferson was such that he pleaded guilty to murder. Although the evidence against Lawler was equally compelling, he pleaded not guilty and the case went to trial.

“The jury has now heard all that evidence and have concluded that, beyond reasonable doubt, David Lawler was also responsible for the murder of Clement Desmier.

“These two brutal individuals will now be serving substantial prison sentences for their crimes.  I hope this brings some comfort to Clement Desmier’s family and friends.”