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Police discovered the car used during the shooting of council worker Ashley Dale by chance after being called to a domestic incident, a court heard.

Environmental health worker Ashley Dale, 28, was shot with a Skorpion machine pistol at her home in Old Swan, Liverpool, in the early hours of August 21 last year and five men are currently on trial at Liverpool Crown Court accused of her murder.

Giving evidence, PC Sam Ward told jurors how a Hyundai i30N Performance which was used to transport gunman James Witham to and from the scene was found after they were called to an ‘unrelated’ domestic incident.

He told the court the car ‘would stick out if someone was driving past’ but it was ‘concealed away.’

Witham, 41, and four other defendants – Niall Barry, 26, Sean Zeisz, 28, Ian Fitzgibbon, 28, and Joseph Peers, 29 – deny her murder, which is alleged to have happened following a feud with her partner Lee Harrison.

Environmental health worker Ashley Dale, 28, was shot with a Skorpion machine pistol at her home in Old Swan , Liverpool, in the early hours of August 21 last year

The Hyundai used in the murder of Ashley Dale, on a driveway where it was found by police

Giving evidence, PC Sam Ward told the jury how a Hyundai i30N Performance was found

Jurors previously heard that James Witham had kicked down the door of her house, where she was spending the evening alone with her dachshund Darla, before entering and shooting her.

The 41-year-old is expected to claim he did not see or hear Ashley and was instead attempting to ‘send a message’ to her boyfriend Lee Harrison, who was not present at the time. 

PC Sam Ward was called to give evidence to the jury on Tuesday. He said the car was parked on the driveway of a house on Waring Avenue in St Helens on October 9 2022.

He told the court: ‘I immediately noticed a vehicle parked next to the house.

‘It was a vehicle which I believed to be of interest. It had been circulated as part of our briefings, which we have on a daily basis, as being involved in some way in the murder case.

‘I then dealt with the domestic side of the incident. After that had all been sorted, I came outside and performed a PNC check on the vehicle.’

Footage captured by PC Ward’s body worn camera during the incident was also played to the court. 

Steven Swift, defending Kallum Radford, then cross-examined the officer.

Radford is accused of taking possession of the car from another defendant, Joseph Peers, and arranging for it to be stored at the address, the home of a woman called Abbie Jevins.

Mr Swift said that the road where the car was located was one which ‘linked a number of larger roads in the area’ and was ‘on one of the local bus routes’.

He asked: ‘Is this the sort of vehicle that would stand out parked on the drive, beyond that fact that you’ve been asked to look out for it?’

PC Ward replied: ‘The make and model are specific. There are very few of those cars around.

‘It would stick out if someone was driving past. However, it was concealed away.’

James Witham, after being stopped, along with Niall Barry, by officers from Avon and Somerset Constabulary on their way to Glastonbury on June 25 last year

Police officers arriving at Liverpool Crown Court ahead of the trial of Ian Fitzgibbon, Niall Barry, Sean Zeisz, Joseph Peers and James Witham

PC Ward agreed that is was ‘unusual’ to see a ‘car of this nature parked in this neighbourhood’. 

When it was put to him that the vehicle was ‘not hidden’, he responded: ‘Not if you’re walking to the front door.’

The officer said there was ‘nothing obscuring the front of it’, and agreed that it was ‘not covered’ and there had been ‘no attempts to disguise it’. 

PC Ward meanwhile described Ms Jevins as being ‘cooperative to an extent’, but said he could not confirm whether the Hyundai could have been placed behind a set of gates leading to the back garden.

Prosecution junior Alex Langhorn then asked him in re-examination: ‘If you hadn’t been called to that address, would you have any reason to go there?’

He replied: ‘No. I wouldn’t.’

Mr Langhorn continued: ‘Would you have found the car?’

PC Ward said: ‘I don’t believe, personally, that I would have.’

Paul Greaney KC told the jury during the prosecution’s opening earlier this month that Witham and driver Peers, were ‘dispatched’ to assassinate Harrison and ‘leave no witnesses’. 

They had allegedly received their orders from Niall Barry, Sean Zeisz and Ian Fitzgibbon – who were said to have been ‘directing operations’ from a flat on Pilch Lane in Huyton.

Ashley Dales’ sister (who has requested not to be named), mother Julie Dale, stepfather Rob Jones and father Steve Dunne arriving at Liverpool Crown Court

The court heard that, at around 11.40pm on August 20 2022, two men approached Ashley’s white Volkswagen T-Roc car – which was parked outside the house – and slashed its tyres, causing the alarm to sound, in an effort to ‘lure’ the occupants out.

But it is thought Ashley believed the alarm had been set off by heavy rain and did not leave her house.

Mr Greaney said: ‘The men who had damaged the car were not deterred. Fifty minutes later, at about 12.30am, they returned.

‘This time, they were not to be diverted from their intention to kill. One of the men approached the front door of 40 Leinster Road and he kicked it in.

‘Ashley plainly became aware of what was happening. She screamed and fled towards the back door of the house, but the man entered the house and he pursued her.

‘He was armed with a machine gun and opened fire. Ashley was struck by a bullet – it passed through her abdomen, causing catastrophic damage.’

Mr Greaney said that ‘certain events at Glastonbury Festival’ in June 2022 had ‘played an important part’ in the alleged motive behind the attack.

Police discovered the car used during the shooting of council worker Ashley Dale by chance 

Funeral of Ashley Louise Dale at Liverpool Cathedral on Sept 20 2022

He said: ‘Ashley Dale and Lee Harrison, her boyfriend, attended the festival, as did at least four of the defendants – Sean Zeisz, Niall Barry, Ian Fitzgibbon and James Witham.

‘Lee Harrison seems to have had an association with the group of which Dusty was part. Whilst at the festival, Sean Zeisz was assaulted and his attackers included Jordan Thompson.’

Witham, Zeisz, Barry, Peers and Fitzgibbon have pleaded not guilty to murdering Ashley Dale, conspiracy to murder Harrison and conspiracy to possess a prohibited weapon and ammunition with intent to endanger life. 

Witham has admitted the lesser charge of manslaughter.

Radford, aged 26, denies assisting an offender. The trial, before Mr Justice Goose, continues.

Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk

Content source – www.soundhealthandlastingwealth.com

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