THE jury in the Jon-Jo Highton murder trial has been hearing about text messages sent by Stuart Eastham - accused of assisting murder accused Joshua Bore - in which he said he believed Owen Whitesmith had confessed to the killing.
The dad-of-one suffered catastrophic injuries after being set on by a group of at least eight men armed with knives, an axe and a sword.
Two of the men accused of murdering Jon-Jo - Arran Graham and Craig Walton - were arrested after being stopped in a Citroen Saxo by police the day after the murder.
In the fifth week of the trial at Preston Crown Court the jury has been hearing about mobile phone activity as the news broke that people were being arrested.
In one message, Eastham told a woman: “Potter (Craig Walton) has been charged with murder. Three of them have.”
In another message, he said: “They’ve not got Josh (Bore) yet. They’re trying to tie Liam (Tunstall) in with it saying he’s the leader. That Owen’s owned up to it now.”
A final message, referring to Walton, said: “Oh well. He knew what he was getting into messing with them.”
Eastham, who is charged with assisting an offender, admits he took Joshua Bore from Preston to Darwen the day after the murder but claims he knew nothing of Jon-Jo’s death at the time he provided the transport.
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.