Ashley Dale: Four men found guilty of murder after Glastonbury row
Ashley Dale was found dead in the back garden after a gunman burst into her home looking for her boyfriend.
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Ms Dale, 28, was shot dead in Old Swan, Liverpool, in August last year when a gunman burst into her home and opened fire with a Skorpion sub-machine gun following a feud with her boyfriend. She was found in the back garden with a fatal gunshot wound.
On Monday, a jury found James Witham, Sean Zeisz, Niall Barry and Joseph Peers guilty of her murder at her home in Leinster Road. Witham, 41, of Ashbury Road, in Huyton, had previously admitted to being the gunman who fired the fatal shot.
Ms Dale's boyfriend, Lee Harrison, had been the intended target of the gun attack after a dispute with Barry had been reignited at Glastonbury Festival earlier in 2022. Harrison, who was described in court as a drug dealer at odds with a rival gang, was not there at the time of the attack.
The four men were also found guilty of conspiracy to murder Harrison and conspiracy to possess a prohibited weapon, namely a Skorpion submachine gun, and ammunition with intent to endanger life.
- Sean Zeisz, 28, of Longreach Road in Huyton, was found guilty of the murder of Ashley Dale, conspiracy to murder Lee Harrison, conspiracy to possess a prohibited weapon with intent to endanger life.
- Niall Barry, 26, of Moscow Drive in Tuebrook, was found guilty of the murder of Ashley Dale, conspiracy to murder Lee Harrison, conspiracy to possess a prohibited weapon with intent to endanger life.
- Joseph Peers, 29, of Woodlands Road in Roby, was found guilty of the murder of Ashley Dale, conspiracy to murder Lee Harrison, conspiracy to possess a prohibited weapon with intent to endanger life.
- James Witham, 41, of Ashbury Road, Huyton, was found guilty of the murder of Ashley Dale, conspiracy to murder Lee Harrison, conspiracy to possess a prohibited weapon with intent to endanger life.
The four men will be sentenced on Wednesday 22 November.
Ian Fitzgibbon, 28, of Heigham Gardens in St Helens, was found not guilty of the above offences. A sixth man, 26-year-old Kallum Radford, of Trentham Road, Kirkby, was found not guilty of assisting an offender.
Senior investigating officer Detective Chief Inspector Cath Cummings said: “The actions of James Witham on that day had a devastating and widespread impact.
“Ashley, an innocent women, lost her life in the most brutal way at the hands of Witham. That was compounded by the fact that she was alone in her own home, where she should have felt and been safe, when she was fatally shot. Her family have to live with that knowledge every day.
“This has been a complex and challenging investigation and it was only thanks to the painstaking work of the investigation team and the community who rallied round and pointed us in the right direction in the early stages that we were able to bring about this successful prosecution.
“The evidential material we had was significant from cell site analysis to DNA and trawling through hundreds of hours of CCTV.
“We also seized thousands of exhibits, of which over 300 were digital devices. By far the most important was Ashley’s phone and the voice notes she sent to her friends describing what was going on in her life and the lead up to her death.
“The four men who have been found guilty have not shown an ounce of remorse for their actions which led to Ashley’s death and instead pleaded not guilty forcing her family to endure a lengthy trial where they have had to relive Ashley’s last moments over and over again. I am pleased that the jury saw through their blatant lies and how they conspired together.
“I would like to pay tribute to Ashley’s family for the dignity and composure they showed throughout the trial. These four men now face a considerable length of time behind bars and while that will never bring Ashley back I hope that, after over a year of waiting for justice, they can move to the next chapter of their lives and properly grieve their loss."