South West Wales

Tenant accused of Swansea landlord murder had 'rent issues'

Alec Warburton (left) and David Ellis
Image caption Alec Warburton (left) and David Ellis

A landlord killed by one of his tenants had difficulty getting regular rent payments from him, a court has heard.

David Craig Ellis, 41, is accused of murdering Alec Warburton, 59, in July at a house in Sketty, Swansea.

Mr Warburton's brother Graham told Swansea Crown Court he also received a text message purporting to be from his brother after he had reported him missing on 2 August.

Ellis has admitted manslaughter but denies murder.

Graham Warburton told the court the text message from his brother's phone asked: "Why have you contacted the police - my welfare is fine."

The message also read: "Don't need them snooping around when I have lodgers here."

Graham Warburton said his brother would not have used the terminology in the text and he would not usually sign off with his name either.

Washing up

He told the jury he would speak to his brother on the landline phone almost every day and he would talk about some of his lodgers and their personalities.

Described in court as a "meticulous" person, Graham Warburton said his brother would sometimes complain if lodgers had not done the washing up.

They last spoke over the phone on 30 July and Graham Warburton said he tried to contact his brother three times the following day but his calls were not answered.

A police officer then visited Alec Warburton's home to check on him after he was reported as a missing person, the jury heard.

The trial continues.

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