Ashley Dale: Four guilty of murder after row at Glastonbury

131713898 d7df09864b424cfdde98264644f441fd1d2432ce
Ashley DaleFamily handout

Four men have been found guilty of murdering a woman after a gunman opened fire at her home after a feud involving her boyfriend.

Ashley Dale, 28, was shot by James Witham who fired a Skorpion sub-machine gun in her house in Liverpool in the early hours of 21 August 2022.

Witham, 41, Joseph Peers, 29, Niall Barry, 26, and Sean Zeisz, 28, were convicted at Liverpool Crown Court.

Ian Fitzgibbon, 28, was cleared of Ms Dale’s murder.

The trial heard Ms Dale’s partner had been the intended target of the shooting due to a feud with Barry, which had reignited at Glastonbury festival.

Ms Dale’s mother and stepfather were hugged by relatives sitting behind them and stood and embraced each other in tears once the proceedings had ended.

The family members of the convicted men were in tears as the verdicts were read out, with some relatives running out of the court room causing the judge to pause proceedings.

Ms Dale, an environmental health officer, was killed when Witham, who admitted manslaughter but denied murder, forced open the door of her home in the Old Swan area of the city.

He fired 10 bullets in her dining room, one hitting Ms Dale in the abdomen as she stood by the back door, and five bullets into the wall of an upstairs bedroom.

Ashley Dale shooting

Merseyside Police

Peers was described in court as a “foot soldier” after he drove a Hyundai to the scene and earlier helped Witham to stab tyres on Ms Dale’s car in an attempt to lure the couple out of the house.

Barry and Zeisz were found to have helped organise and encourage the killing, which came after a feud with Ms Dale’s boyfriend Lee Harrison.

The trial heard Ms Dale’s own voice describing the falling out between her partner and Barry, as voice notes which she recorded and sent to friends in the two months before her murder were played to the jury.

Her phone was found an arm’s length from her and the court heard she had tried to call Mr Harrison, who was out with friends, in her final moments.

The trial heard Barry’s feud with Mr Harrison, who did not co-operate with police after his girlfriend’s death, started about three years before the shooting when Mr Harrison sided with the Hillside organised crime group after they allegedly stole drugs from Barry.

Ashley Dale murder trial: Lee Harrison (left) with Niall Barry

Merseyside Police

The feud was reignited when both attended Glastonbury festival in June 2022, the prosecution said.

Witham, Peers, Barry and Zeisz were also convicted of conspiracy to murder Mr Harrison and conspiracy to possess a prohibited weapon, a Skorpion sub-machine gun, and ammunition.

Fitzgibbon, of St Helens, was cleared of those charges.

Kallum Radford, 26, was acquitted of assisting an offender after being accused of helping to store the car used in the murder.

Sentencing will take place on Wednesday at 11:00 GMT.

Presentational grey line

Why not follow BBC North West on Facebook, X and Instagram? You can also send story ideas to

Related Topics

Related Internet Links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.

Products You May Like

Articles You May Like

North Wales crash teen was most precious soul – mother
UK net migration in 2022 revised up to record 745,000
Lord Cameron defends push for ‘golden’ relations with China
COP28: UAE planned to use climate talks to make oil deals
Vermont: Three Palestinian students shot near US campus

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.