A teenager has told a court she did not know where murder accused Owen Whitesmith was or who he was with at the time Jon-Jo Highton was killed.
In an interview with the police several months into the investigation into Jon-Jo’s death, the girl - who cannot be identified for legal reasons - admitted she had received several phone calls from Whitesmith while he was in prison following his arrest.
In an earlier interview, shortly after Jon-Jo’s death, the youngster said she had not seen Whitesmith using a mobile phone in the aftermath of an incident at his home, in which a woman was headbutted.
However, the officer conducting her second interview told her that from 4am onwards there had been more than 80 calls made from Whitesmith’s phone, and a number of texts exchanged between her mobile and a phone believed to have been used by another defendant Arran Graham, on the afternoon of August 24 - the day Jon-Jo died.
The girl admitted she had allowed Whitesmith to use her phone but had not asked who he was messaging or what was being discussed.
She said he left the house in the evening of August 24 and had promised to bring her some pop back when he returned.
Throughout the evening she sent him several messages asking when he would be back and at 8.43pm received a message from Whitesmith saying: “Don’t know cos I’m going to have to do this. I’ll drop you some pop and that later.”
She told the officer she took that to mean there was something he had to do before he could come back, but said: “I didn’t always question him. I wasn’t inquisitive, like where are you going, who are you with?”
Dad-of-one Jon-Jo, 18, was killed in an alleged gang attack by a group of eight men in St Stephen’s Road, Deepdale, Preston.
He suffered severe injuries after being attacked with what is believed to have been a Samurai sword and knives.
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.