A TEENAGER has admitted she received a text message from murder accused Owen Whitesmith saying he had something to do before he could come home on the night Jon-Jo Highton was killed.
In a recorded police interview the youngster – who cannot be identified for legal reasons – said she had asked Whitesmith to bring her some pop although she said she did not know where he had gone or who he was with.
The girl, who was staying at Whitesmith’s house on the weekend of the killing, sent him a number of text messages while he was out of the house as she said she was nervous about going to sleep after an incident the previous night in which three men came to the house and a woman was headbutted.
At 8.41pm she messaged Whitesmith, asking: “Are you going to be longer?”
Two minutes later a text came into her phone saying: “Don’t know cos I’m going to have to do this. Drop you some pop and that later.”
The jury has been hearing about mobile phone traffic between the men charged with murder and assisting an offender.
Officers investigating Jon-Jo’s murder recovered 23 mobile phones believe to have been linked to the defendants sitting side by side in the dock at Preston Crown Court.
A total of 68 different phone numbers have been linked to the investigation with 17 being asociated with the eight men charged with murder.
In the 48 hours following the incident at Whitesmith’s home the phones were used 16,500 times.
However officers have narrowed down the interactions to 1,000 they believe to have been relevant to the inquiry.
Det Sgt Wendy Ryan told the court the high volumes of calls were consistent with the reports a number of the defendants were involved in drug dealing.
She added police believe the incident at Whitesmith’s home to have been the catalyst and motive for Jon-Jo’s murder.
Jon-Jo Highton was set upon by a group of eight men with weapons including knives, axes and a samurai sword.
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.