‘Everyone knew Jon-Jo had enemies’

Jon-Jo Highton

Jon-Jo Highton

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A woman has told a court she knew murdered Preston teen Jon-Jo Highton must have had enemies because he had been stabbed before but she says she did not know who those enemies were.

Giving evidence in a recorded interview the woman - who cannot be identified - said she was not aware of any tension bubbling between her friend Owen Whitesmith, who is one of eight men accused of murder, and slain teen Jon-Jo.

In an interview after a number of arrests had been made in connection with the death last August, the woman was given a list of names and asked what she knew of them, Preston Crown Court heard.

She said she knew of Jon-Jo Highton and that he had been stabbed before.

She said: “Everyone knows that. I knew he had enemies because he got stabbed but I didn’t know who or anything.”

She told the interviewing 
officer she was not aware of any history between 
Whitesmith, 19, and Jon-Jo, but said: “He’s a boy. It’s not like he’s going to talk about that kind of stuff to me because I’m a girl.”

Dad-of-one Jon-Jo died from a wound to the side of his face and neck believed to have been caused by a Samurai sword after he was set upon by a group of eight men wearing dark clothes and hoods as he walked back from a night in his local pub in Deepdale.

He was attacked with knives, an axe and the sword, suffering injuries so severe he could not have survived.

Owen Whitesmith, 19, of Glebe Close Fulwood; Arron Graham, 23, Ripon Street, Preston; Stephen Walton, 24, of no fixed address; Craig Walton, 26, of Watling Street Road, Fulwood; Joshua Bore, 19, of Morris Road, Ribbleton; Zaahid Patel, 20, of Park Avenue, Preston; 
Mohammed Sabbah Dal, 20, of Alice Square, Preston; and Minhaj Musa, 21, of Deepdale Road, Preston all deny murder at Preston Crown Court.

Liam Tunstall, 26, of Mark Close, Penwortham; John Wilding, 36, of Everton Street, Darwen and Stuart Eastham, 32, Gisburn Road, Ribbleton, deny assisting an offender.