Everton newsMen accused of murdering young woman bought beer, sweets and takeaway before killing

James Witham, who admits killing Ashley Dale but denies murder, watched Everton vs Nottingham Forest, bought booze, and ordered a takeaway before the fatal shooting.

The men accused of murdering Ashley Dale were seen on CCTV buying sweets, booze, and takeaway food in the hours before she was shot dead. James Witham, who admits killing the 28-year-old but denies murder, also attended Everton vs Nottingham Forest that afternoon, Liverpool ECHO reports.


Ashley Dale was shot and killed at her homeSix men are currently on trial in connection with the death of Knowsley Council worker Ashley, who was shot dead in the early hours of August 21 last year. Witham, 41, kicked in the door of Ashley’s Liverpool home and opened fire with a Skorpion sub-machine gun, killing her.

Ashley Dale

He claims he did not know she was there at the time and that he was trying to “send a message” to her boyfriend, Lee Harrison. Also on trial at Liverpool Crown Court in connection with her death are Niall Barry, 26, Sean Zeisz, 28, Ian Fitzgibbon, 28, Joseph Peers, 29, and Kallum Radford, 25.

The prosecution claim that Witham and Peers were “dispatched” to kill Mr Harrison by Barry, Zeisz, and Fitzgibbon, who were alleged to have directed the hit from a flat in Pilch Lane, Huyton.

Today, the jury was shown CCTV footage of some of the accused in the days prior to Ashley’s death. Barry, Witham, Peers, and another associate, David McCaig, drove a grey Hyundai i30n to Abergele in North Wales on the afternoon of August 19. They returned to the Pilch Lane property that evening.

The jury were told that Barry did not emerge from the flat again until after the fatal shooting, though others came and went several times. On the morning of August 20, Fitzgibbon arrived in a black Volkswagen Golf and picked up Witham.

James Witham, who accepts shooting Ashley Dale but denies murder, being arrested en route to Glastonbury FestivalThe pair travelled to a sports shop in Aintree, where Witham bought a pair of £155 On Cloudflyer trainers. The court heard a footprint on Ashley’s front door matched the tread of these shoes.

Witham then went to watch Everton vs Nottingham Forest at Goodison Park with associate Michael Kershaw, making a purchase from a food provider near the stadium at 2.27pm. That evening, just before 8pm, Witham, wearing the new trainers, and Peers were seen on CCTV buying boxes of beer and another brand of booze from Adisco Food and Wine.

At 8.25pm, a delivery driver arrived at the Pilch Lane flat with bags of what appeared to be takeaway food, while Fitzgibbon left the flat and entered Chan’s Fish and Chip Shop a few minutes later. Zeisz joined his co-accused in the property before 9.30pm.

Niall Barry

The prosecution claims an incident at Glastonbury Festival two months before the shooting “reignited” a feud between Barry and Mr Harrison, who had previously been close friends. Ashley, who described the “heavy beef” between the pair, spoke of her “terrible anxiety” that something “bad” was going to happen in messages to pals.

Witham, of Huyton; Zeisz, of Huyton; Barry, of Tuebrook; Peers, of Roby; and Fitzgibbon, of St Helens, have pled not guilty to murdering Ashley Dale, conspiracy to murder Mr Harrison and conspiracy to possess a prohibited weapon and ammunition with intent to endanger life. Radford, 25 denies assisting an offender.

The trial, before Mr Justice Goose, continues and is scheduled to last for six to eight weeks.

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