A youngster has told a court murder accused Owen Whitesmith appeared “his usual self” in the hours surrounding the brutal killing of Preston teenager Jon-Jo Highton.
Another man told Preston Crown Court he saw knives and a machete at the flat drug dealers Craig Walton and Joshua Bore stayed at earlier that day.
Dad-of-one Jon-Jo, 18, was allegedly set upon by a group of at least eight men armed with knives, an axe and a sword, suffering injuries so severe he could not have survived. He died at the scene at 11.20pm on August 23.
The teenage witness who was staying at the Whitesmith family home in Glebe Close, Fulwood, told police the accused had left the house at around 10pm and returned home some time before midnight, but did not say where he was going.
She said: “When he came in he wasn’t agitated or overly quiet. He was just Owen.”
But early the following morning she said she woke to hear police in the house and saw Whitesmith being arrested - but she did not know what for.
Another man told the court he bought heroin from Bore and Walton - who he knew by the nickname ‘Potter’ - earlier in the evening of August 23. When he called at the flat they were living at in Watling Street Road, Preston, he saw two fishing knives and a machete, which he had seen on previous visits.
That night Bore - a keen fisherman - said the knives were for his hobby but had previously said they were for defence after a precious robbery.
The man said he left the flat at around 8.30pm after a trip to McDonald’s in Bore’s Citroen Saxo.
The witness’s fingerprint was later found on a receipt from the fast food restaurant which was date stamped August 23.
The prosecution alleges Jon-Jo was killed in a revenge attack following an incident at Whitesmith’s house the previous night.
In the aftermath it is alleged Whitesmith recruited a number of other men and armed with weapons set out to find anyone associated with the men who had been at his house the previous night.
Jon-Jo was attacked by men dressed in dark clothing and balaclavas, travelling in two cars as he walked from the Charnock pub to a friend’s house,
Five of the eight men accused of his killing admit being in St Stephen’s Road when Jon-Jo was attacked, however Bore, Walton and Walton deny being present.
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.