Oxford

Man guilty of murdering Adrian Greenwood over The Wind in Willows book

Adrian Greenwood
Image caption Art dealer Adrian Greenwood was found dead in his Oxford house by a cleaner on 7 April

A man has been found guilty of murdering a book dealer over a £50,000 first edition of The Wind in the Willows.

Michael Danaher, 51, stabbed Adrian Greenwood to death after drawing up a list of wealthy targets that also included Kate Moss and Jeffrey Archer.

The 42-year-old was found dead at his Oxford home in April. He had been stabbed 16 times, the judge said.

Danaher has been jailed for life with a minimum of 34 years.

He told the jury at Oxford Crown Court he had acted in self defence, but it took about two hours to find him unanimously guilty.

Passing sentence, Judge Ian Pringle said Danaher, from Peterborough, had become "obsessed" with famous people and had tortured his victim.

The prosecution said the rare copy of The Wind in the Willows was found at his flat and had been put up for sale on eBay at the "knockdown price" of £2,000.

Image copyright TVP
Image caption The 108-year-old copy of The Wind in the Willows was found in Danaher's flat

Prosecutor Oliver Saxby QC said Danaher was £13,000 in debt and had also searched for details on Eamonn Holmes, Michael Parkinson, Rio Ferdinand, Simon Cowell, Katie Hopkins and Greg Dyke.

The barrister said his intention was "to get money" by going to the houses of wealthy people and robbing them.

A spreadsheet was found on Danaher's computer with the names of 14 "people of means" whom he intended to steal from or kidnap, the court was told.

Other people on the list included venture capitalist Adrian Beecroft, TV pawnbroker Adam Hatfield, property developer Howard Grossman, and financial investor Guy Hands.

Mr Saxby said the list was "considered in its own way, and efficient, and really quite brutal" and also had details of valuables, weapons and family members of his planned victims.

The weapon listed in many cases was a "stun gun", and one was found in Danaher's flat by police.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Kate Moss and Jeffrey Archer were on a list of "people of means" made by the defendant

Giving evidence during the trial, Danaher said an "unknown man" used his laptop to search for the addresses of high-profile people, including Gary Lineker and Louise Redknapp.

The court heard how he also stopped outside Mr Greenwood's house and took a selfie after the murder.

Mr Saxby said: "It takes a certain sort of person to have done what the defendant did to Adrian Greenwood.

"Cool, calculated, controlled, before, during and after. And underpinning it all? Greed. It was money he was after."

Image copyright TVP
Image caption Michael Danaher took a selfie after he stabbed Adrian Greenwood to death

The prosecutor said Danaher had earlier tried to enter Adrian Beecroft's house on 22 March, arriving with a parcel he said was for the venture capitalist's daughter.

Judge Pringle said Danaher "drew up plans to rob, burgle or kidnap people to generate funds".

"You became obsessed with famous personalities and drew up a lengthy list of potential targets," he said.

"You left [Mr Greenwood] bleeding to death on his own hallway floor and even took a picture of yourself. You applied more torture than the knife stab wounds."

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