Murder accused set to ‘torch car’

Jon-Jo Highton
Jon-Jo Highton
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A MAN who met three men accused of murdering 
teenager Jon-Jo Highton in the hours after the attack said one spoke of burning out the car he was driving, jurors have been told.

Defendant Minhaj Musa, 21, also told the man - who cannot be named for legal reasons - they had been involved in an attack in Deepdale and Jon-Jo’s throat had been slit, but said they had not meant for it to go that far, Preston Crown Court heard yesterday.

Giving evidence from behind screens, the man told the jury he had been in a car with three other men and had seen Musa’s Vauxhall Meriva in the Deepdale area.

They followed it to the Morrison’s carpark on Blackpool Road and had a brief chat and went their separate ways.

Later that night they spotted the car again at a lay-by in Fulwood Hall Lane where they would go for a smoke and a chat, and saw defendant’s Minhaj Musa, Mohammed Sabbah Dal and Zaahid Patel, with the broken shaft of a golf club.

The witness said: “Minhaj (Musa) told us when they pulled up Jon-Jo was with two girls. Sabbah (Dal) was the first to get out and throw a brick at Jon-Jo and started punching him.

“Jon-Jo managed to hit Sabbah. Another car pulled up behind. A few people got out of that car - they started beating Jon-Jo up. One guy has then slit Jon-Jo’s throat.

“Zaahid (Patel) got out of the car and whacked Jon-Jo with a golf club. Everyone then got back in the car.

“Minhaj said he didn’t get out of the car.

“He said one of Jon-Jo’s boys had jumped him and Zaahid a while ago and they were getting him back.

“He said they didn’t mean it to go that far. He was talking about burning the car out and also that he was scared and in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Jon-Jo Highton, 18, suffered severe injuries including a deep wound to his neck. He died shortly after the attack in St Stephen’s Road on August 23, last year.

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.