MURDER victim Martin Ithell was well known and popular but dubbed ‘a loan shark’ in court.
He is remembered as a true gentleman with a broad smile by those who encountered him working the doors at venues including Politic in Chester.
Hundreds attended his funeral at Stoak, near Chester, near the family farm at Wervin where he grew up.
But the defendant Davidson claimed Mr Ithell, 49, was charging 10% interest per week on the £16,000 he borrowed, causing the debt to quickly swell to £26,000.
And the court heard Mr Ithell was piling on the pressure to get his money back with no less than 50 attempted calls and texts to Davidson on the Tuesday before his death.
There was talk Mr Ithell, a commercial debt collector, was involved with a bigger operation and reference to a ‘boss’ from Birkenhead.
And the court heard from witness Denis Coupe who claimed Mr Ithell used violence against him when acting as a debt collector.
The love of Mr Ithell’s life was his partner Sarah Potbury with whom he had shared his life after meeting on a night out in Brannigans 10 years ago. The couple had planned to celebrate Martin’s 50th birthday on the night he was murdered.
Mr Ithell was also a keep-fit fanatic and a black belt expert in the Shotokan-style of karate.
He had a close association with the Heavy Hitters boxing gym in Hoole which he opened up every morning before putting himself through a two hour work-out.
Mr Ithell backed the aims of the gym, a charity, to keep young people on the ‘straight and narrow’ and supported the young boxers who trained there.
He also enjoyed a flutter and was at Corbetts bookmakers just an hour before he died.