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Liverpool Echo
Liverpool Echo
Adam Everett

Two suspects set to go on trial later this year accused of murdering Ashley Dale

Two men are set to face trial later this year accused of the murder of Ashley Dale.

The 28-year-old was found unconscious in the back yard of her home on Leinster Road, Old Swan, shortly after midnight on August 21 last year. Detectives said a gunman had burst through her front door and fired multiple shots "indiscriminately", one of which had struck the Knowsley Council environmental health officer in the abdomen.

Merseyside Police have previously said detectives do not believe she was the intended target of the shooter, although they believed the "address was targeted". James Witham, of Ashbury Road in Huyton and Joseph Peers, of Woodlands Road in Roby, were charged with Ms Dale's murder and possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life earlier this week.

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The pair, aged 40 and 28 respectively, appeared before Liverpool Crown Court via video link to HMP Dovegate this morning, Thursday, in order to face these charges. Peers appeared with short, mousey hair and facial hair and wearing a blue and yellow jumper while Witham sported short brown hair and wore a green and yellow tracksuit top.

Both spoke to confirm their names and dates of birth, but were not asked to enter any pleas. A trial date was scheduled for October 3, with the case expected to last for six to eight weeks.

Peers and Witham were remanded into custody by Judge Andrew Menary KC ahead of a further appearance on June 30. A third man, Kallum Radford, has been charged with assisting an offender in relation to the investigation into Ms Dale's death.

The 25-year-old, of Treatham Road in Kirkby, is accused of "taking possession" of a Hyundai i30 car "used by offenders" at an house on Waring Avenue in St Helens. He has been released on bail ahead of an appearance before the crown court on March 1.

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