Moment police arrest Ashley Dale murder accused on way to Glastonbury and find knife after 'feud with her boyfriend’

10 October 2023, 10:54 | Updated: 10 October 2023, 12:37

Bodycam footage shows moment suspected killers of Ashley Dale are arrested

By Jenny Medlicott

This is the moment police arrested two men accused of Ashley Dale's murder.

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Ms Dale, 28, was hit in the abdomen by a bullet fired from a weapon at her home in Old Swan, Liverpool, on August 21 last year.

Last week a court heard that Ms Dale was blasted "deliberately and mercilessly" with a Skorpion sub-machine gun after James Witham burst into her home in Liverpool.

Now footage has been released of a separate incident where Witham, who has admitted to Ms Dale's manslaughter but denied murder, was arrested by police.

The footage, taken on body-worn camera, shows Witham being arrested by Avon and Somerset Police, alongside Niall Barry, also accused of Ms Dale’s murder, on 25 June 2022.

The court previously heard that Witham and Barry, who also goes by Branch, had been travelling to the Glastonbury festival in a taxi before they were pulled over by the police.

Paul Greaney KC prosecuting, told the court: "It seems that whilst attending Glastonbury, Niall Barry stayed at a pub with rooms not far from where the festival was taking place. The pub was called the Pig and Wheel and he stayed there with five others, including James Witham, the man who shot and killed Ashley.

Read more: Council worker Ashley Dale killed with Cold War sub-machine gun over feud 'reignited at Glastonbury festival'

Read more: Man denies murder of Ashley Dale, 28, after she was shot dead at home

The footage showed Witham, who has admitted manslaughter but denied murder, being arrested.
The footage showed Witham, who has admitted manslaughter but denied murder, being arrested. Picture: Merseyside Police
Niall Barry is also arrested in the clip.
Niall Barry is also arrested in the clip. Picture: Merseyside Police

Mr Greaney continued, according to the Liverpool Echo: "On the morning of Saturday 25th June, Niall Barry and James Witham were in a taxi, travelling from the Pig and Wheel towards the festival. Uniformed officers stopped the vehicle they were in. In the rear of the taxi, along with Niall Barry and James Witham, was a holdall.”

The footage shows Witham wearing a blue jacket, blue cap and carrying a black bag, which police search during the arrest.

PC Whatley is shown searching another blue holdall in the footage, which contains a passport by the name Niall Warner - Warner being the surname of Niall’s father, the jury heard.

The officer then uncovers a flick knife at the bottom of the bag, which reveals a three-inch blade when released. PC Whatley can be heard saying “Oh hello, Mr Niall” followed by another office adding “that’ll do, that’ll come in”.

PC Whatley then informs Barry, sat in handcuffs in the back of a police car, that’ll he’ll be “arrested on suspicion of possession of that”, motioning to the knife.

But Barry denies the bag being his, as he says: “That's not my bag, that's what I was saying to him before my passport is in his [Witham's] bag.”

Ashley Dale died in the summer of 2022 after she was hit in the abdomen by a bullet.
Ashley Dale died in the summer of 2022 after she was hit in the abdomen by a bullet. Picture: Alamy

Witham then shouts from the other side of the vehicle that the bag is his, while also claiming that he has ketamine in his bag.

The officer then says: “I am going to arrest you then on possession of this.”

“Ah I didn't know it was even in there,” Witham replied.

Opening the trial of five men accused of her murder at Liverpool Crown Court last week, Mr Greaney said: "There can, suggests the prosecution, be no doubt that Ashley's death was murder. She was shot deliberately and, indeed, mercilessly by a man who entered her home intending to kill."

He told the court Miss Dale had attended the Glastonbury festival in June that year with her boyfriend Lee Harrison.

Miss Dale, whose family members wiped away tears at times during the opening of the trial last week, was at the couple's home on Leinster Road with her dog on the night of the attack, while Mr Harrison was out.

The jury was told Witham admitted the manslaughter of Miss Dale, but said he shot her by accident in the early hours of August 21 having gone to "send a message" to Mr Harrison following a dispute about drug dealing in North Wales.

Mr Greaney said: "It was James Witham who forced the front door to Leinster Road, James Witham who entered the house and James Witham who proceeded to open fire on Ashley, shooting and killing her.

"James Witham then walked upstairs and into a bedroom, where he fired five bullets into the wall. He did that, the prosecution suggests, to send a firm message to Lee Harrison. That message was that he, Lee Harrison, had been the principal target of this attack and he too should be dead, along with Ashley."

Witham, of Huyton; Fitzgibbon, of St Helens; Zeisz of Huyton; Barry of Tuebrook; and Peers of Roby - all Merseyside - deny Miss Dale's murder.

All five also deny conspiracy to murder Lee Harrison and conspiracy to possess a prohibited weapon, a Skorpion sub-machine gun, and ammunition.

A sixth defendant, Kallum Radford, 25, of no fixed address, denies assisting an offender.

The train, which is expected to last for six to eight weeks, continues on Tuesday.