MURDER TRIAL LATEST: Jon-Jo heard shouting ‘let’s just talk’

Tragic: Jon-Jo Highton died of stab wounds last year

Tragic: Jon-Jo Highton died of stab wounds last year

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Jon-Jo Highton was heard shouting “let’s just talk” to a man seconds before the gang of eight men, armed with an axe, sword and hunting knives jumped from two cars and attacked him in St Stephen’s Road, Deepdale – yards from his own front door, the trial into his murder has heard.

The attack is believed to have been a revenge attack after a woman was headbutted at the house of rival drug dealer Owen Whitesmith the previous night.

Whitesmith accepts that the group with which he travelled to the scene was armed with weapons but he maintains that the weapons were only for show

However officers who attended the assault later stopped and searched Jon-Jo and found no drugs on him and were confident he did not match the description of either of the men reported to have been at Whitesmith’s house.

The woman who was headbutted – who cannot be identified for legal reasons – told officers in a statement made after Jon-Jo’s murder that she had not asked anyone to take revenge for what had happened to her.

She reported it to the police but following the attack the court heard Whitesmith began recruiting others to avenge the attack.

Five of the eight men accused of murdering Jon-Jo admit being at the scene.

Neil Flewitt QC, prosecuting, said: “Whitesmith accepts that the group with which he travelled to the scene was armed with weapons but he maintains that the weapons were only for show.

“He admits fighting with and punching Jon-Jo Highton but denies playing any part in inflicting the serious injuries that caused his death or foreseeing that Jon-Jo would be seriously injured or killed.

“Arran Graham denies being armed with any weapon or seeing any weapon in the Vectra. He accepts getting out of the Vectra at the scene of the murder but denies any part in the attack.”

Minhaj Musa admits being at the scene but denies involvement in the attack; Zaahid Patel accepts swinging a golf club at Jon-Jo but claims it was to disarm him of a bottle he was carrying; Mohammed Sabbah Dal admits throwing a brick at Jon-Jo.

The other three defendants deny being present at the scene.

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.

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.