Gunman went to football match in hours before council worker’s death, court told

A gunman who killed a 28-year-old council worker bought trainers and went to watch a football match in the hours before the shooting, a court has heard.

James Witham, 41, admits the manslaughter of Ashley Dale, who was fatally shot in her home in Old Swan, Liverpool, in the early hours of August 21 last year.

But he denies her murder and claims he did not know Miss Dale was at home alone when he went to the house on Leinster Road to send a message to her boyfriend Lee Harrison, a jury has been told.

Ashley Dale death
Ashley Dale (Merseyside Police/PA)

On Tuesday, the trial at Liverpool Crown Court was shown CCTV of Witham and Fitzgibbon at Taskers Sports shop in Aintree, Liverpool, at 11.15am on August 20.

Detective Sergeant Graeme Sutton said Witham entered the store, while Fitzgibbon waited outside in a Volkswagen Golf, and purchased a pair of On Cloudflyer trainers in size eight and a half for £155.

The jury has heard a footprint matching the trainers was found on the front door of Miss Dale’s home after it was kicked in.

Card payments were made by Witham to a catering company in Goodison Park stadium, the home of Everton Football Club, at 2.37pm on August 20, the court was told.

The jury heard Witham was believed to be with associate Michael Kershaw.

Mr Sutton said: “We believe Mr Witham and Mr Kershaw attended a football match at Goodison.”

Liverpool shooting
Police and forensic officers on Leinster Road in Old Swan, Liverpool (Jason Roberts/PA)

At 9.30pm on August 20, Witham, Fitzgibbon, Zeisz, Barry and Peers were all in the flat, the jury heard.

Witham, of Huyton; Fitzgibbon, of St Helens; Zeisz of Huyton; Barry, of Tuebrook; and Peers, of Roby, all of Merseyside, also deny conspiracy to murder Mr Harrison and conspiracy to possess a prohibited weapon, a Skorpion sub-machine gun, and ammunition.

Kallum Radford, 26, of no fixed address, denies assisting an offender.

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