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Ashley Dale: Four men found guilty of murdering council worker who was shot dead in her garden | UK News

Four men have been found guilty of murdering council worker Ashley Dale.

The 28-year-old died after being found with a gunshot wound in the garden of her home in Liverpool in August last year.

A jury heard the intended target of the shooting was her boyfriend Lee Harrison – described in court as a drug dealer who was in a feud with a rival gang.

However, he wasn’t at the property at the time of the attack.

James Witham, 41, Joseph Peers, 29, Niall Barry, 26, and Sean Zeisz, 28, were found guilty of murdering Dale.

Ian Fitzgibbon was cleared of the charge.

The court heard a gunman fired eight bullets from a sub-machine gun towards Ms Dale and two at the ground – believed to be towards her dog.

He then went upstairs to a bedroom and fired five bullets into a wall “to send a firm message to Lee Harrison”, the prosecution said.

Despite being the principal target and losing his girlfriend, Harrison did not help the police investigation.

The feud that led to the murder reignited after a row at Glastonbury Festival earlier in the summer, the trial was told.

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Eileen Cotter death: DNA breakthrough sees pensioner John Apelgren convicted of killing sex worker almost 50 years later | UK News

A man has been convicted of murdering a woman nearly half a century ago following a DNA breakthrough.

John Apelgren hit sex worker Eileen Cotter in the face, strangled her and threw her body out of his car in Islington, north London, in 1974.

After interviewing 92 potential suspects at the time, the case went cold until DNA was found on Ms Cotter’s body in 2012.

Then, in 2019, there was a breakthrough when police took Apelgren’s DNA after he attacked his third wife – the sample was a match.

His ex-wife Anne also revealed she had been mistreated and that Apelgren had once grabbed her neck with both hands.

She told police she believed he was cheating just months after their 1972 marriage and later found out he was sleeping with her brother’s wife.

Ex-cab driver Apelgren, from Sydenham in south London, declined to give evidence at his Old Bailey trial.

However, after 11 hours of deliberations the jury found him guilty of manslaughter and indecent assault – but not guilty of murder.

Apelgren strangled and beat Eileen Cotter and pushed her body out his car
Apelgren strangled and beat Eileen Cotter and pushed her body out of his car

The court heard he was seen on the night of the killing at a Finsbury Park hotdog stall where Ms Cotter would often go.

The 22-year-old woman was later found near some garages, semi-naked with a black eye and bruising, and her underwear and tights had been pulled down.

A post-mortem examination found she died of strangulation.

Read more:
Mysterious ‘boy in the box’ cold case murder gets vital clue
This man was found dead in woodland 11 years ago

Prosecutor Alexandra Healy KC told the Old Bailey that Apelgren had sex with Ms Cotter before attacking and strangling her.

“Having killed her, he pushed her out of his car. Her body was discovered in the position it fell, without shoes, and with her tights and underwear still around her right leg.”

The trial also heard that the killing came two years after Apelgren allegedly indecently assaulted an 18-year-old guest at his own wedding.

Sentencing will take place at a later date.

Teen charged with assaulting emergency worker during protest outside Merseyside hotel housing asylum seekers | UK News

A teenager has been charged with assaulting an emergency worker during a protest outside a Merseyside hotel housing asylum seekers.

Fifteen people were arrested outside the Suites Hotel in Ribbers Lane, Prescot, on Friday evening as a police van was set on fire and missiles, including lit fireworks, were thrown at officers.

Jarad Skeete, 19, was among those held and has now been charged with violent disorder and assault by beating of an emergency worker.

Mr Skeete, with an address at Irwell Close in the Liverpool suburb of Aigburth, was remanded in custody and will appear at Wirral Adult Remand Court on Monday.

The remaining 14 people arrested at the protest have been conditionally bailed pending the outcome of police enquiries.

Two women and 12 men between the ages of 13 and 54 were arrested on suspicion of violent disorder.

Merseyside Police is appealing for information but said in a statement today that “we would remind people to pass this information directly to police as social media speculation and comment can jeopardise live investigations”.

A demonstration outside the Suites Hotel turned violent on Friday evening when a police van was hit with hammers and set on fire.

Merseyside Chief Constable Serena Kennedy said officers had been made aware of rumours on social media prior to the protest about about an alleged incident “when a man made inappropriate advances towards a teenage girl”.

The chief constable however stressed that there was an investigation ongoing and warned that misinformation could harm its outcome.

Knowsley, Merseyside
Knowsley, Merseyside

Politicians from all parties criticised the violence. Home secretary Suella Braverman condemned the “appalling disorder”, saying: “The alleged behaviour of some asylum seekers is never an excuse for violence and intimidation.”

Meanwhile, shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said: “The shameful and appalling scenes in Knowsley show how far-right groups are using social media to organise and promote violence.

“The Home Secretary is wrong to dismiss far-right threats for political reasons. Instead she should be championing vigilance against all kinds of extremism,” she said.