Four men found guilty of murdering Ashley Dale in Liverpool


Four men have been found guilty of the murder of a Liverpool woman who was shot dead in her home last year.

James Witham, 41, Joseph Peers, 29, Niall Barry, 26, and Sean Zeisz, 28, have been found guilty at Liverpool crown court of the murder of 28-year-old Ashley Dale.

Dale, a council environmental health worker, was killed when Witham kicked down the door of her house in the Old Swan area of Liverpool and shot her in the abdomen on 21 August 2022.

The court heard how the murder was planned and carried out by the four men, who were also found guilty of conspiracy to murder her boyfriend, Lee Harrison.

Harrison was not at the address when Dale was shot.

A fifth man, Ian Fitzgibbon, was cleared of killing Dale and all other charges relating to the murder, while a sixth man, Kallum Radford, was found not guilty of assisting an offender.

The court heard Dale describe the falling out between Harrison and Barry in voice notes she recorded on her phone and sent to friends in the two months before her murder.

The phone, which was recovered next to where Dale was found in her back garden, had been used in her final moments to try to call Harrison, who was out with friends while she spent the night at home, watching television with her dachshund Darla.

The trial heard Barry’s feud with Harrison, who did not cooperate with police after Dale’s death, started about three years before the shooting when Harrison sided with the Hillside organised crime group after it allegedly stole drugs from Barry.

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

Fitzgibbon, who flew to Dubai after the shooting and was extradited from Spain in August, told the jury he had witnessed Barry threatening to stab Harrison during the festival.

In the days following Dale’s murder, Witham and Peers stayed in a hotel in St Helens before travelling to Scotland, and Barry was arrested at a golf resort in Formby after making plans to flee the country.

Witham, of Huyton, Peers, of Roby, and Barry, of Tuebrook, were also convicted of conspiracy to murder Harrison and conspiracy to possess a prohibited weapon – a Skorpion submachine gun – and ammunition.

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

Sentencing will take place on Wednesday morning.

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