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Liverpool Echo
Liverpool Echo
Neil Docking

Alleged gunman was 'sniffing ketamine in back garden at time of murder'

A self-confessed drug dealer says he was in a back garden "off me head on ket" at the time when he allegedly shot a man dead.

Rueben Murphy is accused of murdering Patrick Boyle, 26, in a "public execution" in a Huyton cul-de-sac last summer. But he told a jury he didn't know Mr Boyle and he wasn't the shooter on an electric bike who carried out the killing.

Murphy, 26, and his "best friend" Ben Doyle, 24, both deny Mr Boyle's murder, just before 6pm, on Thursday, July 1 last year. Prosecutors have told Liverpool Crown Court that Lyme Grove in Huyton, where Doyle lived, was "a hub for the launch of the fatal attack".

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However, unemployed Murphy said this was somewhere he went daily, to the rear garden of an "empty house" next door to Doyle's home, to take drugs. He said at the time he was smoking cannabis and "sniffing" up to a quarter of an ounce of ketamine - horse tranquiliser - "every day".

Prosecutors have said CCTV shows an "altercation" in Lyme Grove, involving Murphy and Frazer Brown, an associate of Mr Boyle, at around 12.40pm. Murphy said Mr Brown owed him money for cannabis he sold him years previously and he hadn't seen him since 2015.

He told the court Mr Brown "took the p*** out of me" which was "when I went to prison". Murphy said he asked for the cash but Mr Brown insulted him and "chased" him down the road with a fence panel, before Doyle came out of his house and told Mr Brown to "f*** off".

Under questioning by Nick Johnson, QC, defending, Murphy said he left on a pedal bike to get away. He said he then went to the area of Pennard Avenue, which was to call at a friend's house, and not to collect anything.

The DNA of Thomas Walker, 20, of no fixed address but formerly of Clubmoor, was discovered on a bullet cartridge found in Newway, where Mr Boyle was gunned down. The jury was previously directed to find Walker not guilty of murder after he admitted possessing ammunition without a certificate - on a date before the day of the shooting - which was accepted by the Crown.

Murphy said multiple phone calls and texts he exchanged with Walker and Doyle that afternoon were about arrangements to go to San Carlo in Liverpool city centre that evening for a meal for a friend's birthday. But he said during that time he got "off me face".

Murphy said two return trips he made from Lyme Grove to Barkbeth Road in Huyton - his mum Elaine Murphy's house where he was staying while she was living in Spain at the time - were to collect ketamine and cannabis, both to take himself and to sell to pay his share of the restaurant bill later.

Patrick Boyle, 26, was shot dead in Huyton on Thursday, July 1, 2021 (Merseyside Police)

Prosecutors say a blue and white Sur-Ron electric bike, partially "wrapped in black bin bags", left the rear garden gate of a property two houses down from Doyle's home at 5.40pm. They allege Doyle was on the bike and he was soon joined by Murphy, who they say then split from his associate and used the bike to travel to Newway and shoot Mr Boyle twice, just after 5.56pm.

The jury has watched footage of the alleged gunman - said to have been wearing black gloves - then making his way to Barkbeth Road, where prosecutors say the cyclist went off camera in that area for around eight minutes. The court has heard CCTV showed the rider - no longer wearing gloves and with the dark material wrapped around the bike no longer visible - then cycled to Lyme Grove, where he arrived by 6.08pm.

Murphy said he didn't get on an electric bike that day and the man said to be him was "taller and skinnier" and wearing different clothing. He said during that time frame he was in the garden, "sorting out" cannabis for someone, "off me head on ket", and there wasn't any particular reason he didn't used his phone in that period.

Murphy said his sister Marnie Murphy called him around 7.45pm, "going berserk". He said she told him her ex-partner James Halewood - he believed a friend of Mr Boyle - had called her.

Murphy said she told him "me and my mate were getting blamed" for the shooting and Mr Halewood was going to phone him. He said he got rid of his SIM card and bought a new one because he didn't want to speak to Mr Halewood.

Murphy said he then went home and didn't go to San Carlo. He said this was because Doyle and Walker wouldn't pick him up in his state from "sniffing ketamine".

Police searched Murphy's Barkbeth Road home on July 6 and found a pair of gloves on top of a kitchen cupboard. Ian Unsworth, QC, prosecuting, said gunshot residue (GSR) was found on the back and palm of the left glove.

He said its inner surface contained a mixed DNA profile said to relate to Murphy and at least three other individuals. According to a timeline shown to the jury, the same GSR was found inside both cartridge cases found at the scene of the shooting.

Murphy said he saw gloves like that daily because "everyone wears them". But he "definitely" didn't wear any on July 1 because "it was sunny".

Mr Johnson said: "Did you shoot Mr Boyle?" Murphy replied: "Definitely not, no."

Under cross-examination, Murphy said he didn't know who killed Mr Boyle, before Mr Unsworth asked how he felt about Mr Boyle's death. Murphy said: "It's a tragedy, but it's got nothing to do with me."

In response to a series of questions, Murphy said he didn't know who left Lyme Grove on an electric bike, or who the two people who later got on the bike were. He said Doyle told him that afternoon he was going to Hillside Avenue to drop off some cannabis.

Patrick Boyle, 26, was shot dead in Huyton on Thursday, July 1, 2021 (Merseyside Police)

Mr Unsworth said the judge needed to take a note of his evidence and asked Murphy to slow down when giving his answers. Murphy replied: "You're going fast at me lad so I will come back at you same."

Murphy said while he was in the rear garden of the "empty house" he didn't see anyone on an electric bike or changing their clothes. Mr Unsworth accused him of lying and said he killed Mr Boyle.

Murphy denied the accusation. He said: "It's bang out of order to be honest, because I've never done nothing."

Mr Unsworth said: "You shot him that day." Murphy replied: "100% fact I didn't."

The prosecutor asked what he thought when his sister told him he was getting blamed for the shooting. Murphy said: "It was a load of bulls***."

Murphy, of Oak Avenue, Newton-le-Willows; and Doyle, of Lyme Grove; Huyton, deny murder, possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life, and possessing ammunition with intent to endanger life.


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