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Drug dealer threatened the partner of Ashley Dale a month before her murder

8 months ago

Drug dealer threatened the partner of Ashley Dale a month before her murder
Ashley Dale. Credit: PA

Ashley, 28, was shot with a Skorpion machine gun in her home in Old Swan, Liverpool, in the early hours of August 21 last year.

A man accused of murdering Ashley Dale had threatened her boyfriend in the month before her death, a court has heard.

The council worker was shot with a Skorpion machine gun in her home in Old Swan, Liverpool, in the early hours of August 21 last year, after an alleged feud between her partner Lee Harrison and the five men accused of her murder.

Giving evidence at Liverpool Crown Court on Wednesday, Niall Barry, 26, told the court he had been friends with Mr Harrison.

But he said they had stopped speaking in 2018 or 2019 because Mr Harrison was “hanging round” with people who had stolen £30,000 worth of cocaine and cannabis from him.

Phone records showed on July 26 last year Barry spoke to Mr Harrison twice on the phone.

He told the court he had phoned him after co-defendant James Witham, 41, said Mr Harrison had mentioned Barry’s name in an argument about the theft of drugs.

Asked what he said to Mr Harrison during the phone call, Barry told the court: “I said ‘I’ll come round the estate and I’ll punch your head in’.”

Stan Reiz KC, defending Barry, asked: “That was a threat?”

Barry replied: “Yeah.”

The court heard Barry went to Glastonbury festival 2022, which was also attended by Miss Dale and Mr Harrison.

Undated family handout photo issued by Merseyside Police of Ashley Dale. Credit: PA
Undated family handout photo issued by Merseyside Police of Ashley Dale. Credit: PA

He said while at the festival he was told Mr Harrison was there, along with people from group the Hillsiders, who were the people who had robbed Barry.

Barry said his response to being told that was: “I’m not arsed about them, I’ll stab them up”.

He said the threat was not specifically towards Mr Harrison and he was drunk and “shouldn’t have said it”.

The court heard Barry used the handle Bettertrunk on messaging platform EncroChat.

In messages sent on the platform, which were read to the court, he also referred to accessing guns.

He said: “I was just talking nonsense basically, I was just basically thinking I was hard. I was young, I was only 22.”

He said in April 2020, when the messages were sent, he had access to a Skorpion machine gun which was in a house that a “drug user was minding”.

But he said he never accessed the Skorpion.

The court heard in the summer last year he was supplying cannabis and cocaine, in kilo amounts, to people in areas including North Wales.

Barry said he was convicted earlier this year of conspiracy to sell or transfer a prohibited weapon, a sub-machine gun, and had also been convicted of drug supply offences.

Barry, Witham, Sean Zeisz, 28, Ian Fitzgibbon, 28, and Joseph Peers, 29, deny the murder of Miss Dale, conspiracy to murder Mr Harrison and conspiracy to possess a prohibited weapon, a Skorpion sub-machine gun, and ammunition.

Witham admits manslaughter.

Kallum Radford, 26, denies assisting an offender.

For more updates on the Ashley Dale murder trial visit our latest at The Guide Liverpool.

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