The jury in Billy Livesley’s murder has begun to hear the closing statements from prosecution and defence barristers.
After nine days of evidence, the jury must soon decide if Peter Connors, 32, of no fixed address and David Myles Connors, 26, from Layton Road, Preston, are guilty of the dad-to-be’s murder.
Both defendants have denied the charge, which relates to an attack on the 21-year-old from Platt Bridge back in December.
Billy Livesley died on December 29, a day after succumbing to injuries caused by a blow to the head.
A jury of four men and eight women have heard evidence from numerous witnesses, including Billy Livesley’s pregnant girlfriend Leah Galvin and both defendants.
As the trial nears it’s conclusion, the jury have been urged by Judge Alan Conrad QC, to judge the evidence they have heard “calmly and dispassionately” and without prejudice.
He told the jury that Peter Connors’ presence at the scene is not sufficient to find him guilty of murder, saying: “You must be sure there was intentional assistance and intentional encouragement of David Myles Connors.
“If you are not sure in the case of Peter Connors that he intentionally assisted then Peter Connors must be acquitted of murder and manslaughter.”
The closing statement for the prosecution by Tim Reid QC:
Mr Reid addressed the jury, reminding them of the events which led up to Billy’s death in the Bickershaw Lane car park.
He reminded them that David Connors, who admitted to hitting Billy with a “pry-bar”, was using self defence as a defence, saying that he thought Billy was going to attack him that night.
The prosecutor picked apart this argument saying that nothing that happened on the night gave Connors the impression that he was going to be attacked by Billy.
Mr Reid QC said: “The clearest evidence is that David Connors never said as much to any of his family, particularly his brother Ricky.
“Imagine the conversations in that van. Ricky would be keen to know what David had done and why. David Connors would want his brother to know exactly what had happened and how he was forced to defend himself.
“None of that happened. No one said at any time that David was claiming he struck someone in self-defence. Both knew that night what David Connors had done was nothing to do with self defence.”
“He knows nothing that happened that night could possibly justify such violence.”
The prosecutor told the jury that David Connors’ self defence argument only emerged a week before the trial started.
He advised them to see Connors as someone whose aggression lies “very near” to the surface
“It didn’t take much for him to act the way that he did,” he said.
Mr Reid QC told the jury that if they do consider whether David Connors used reasonable force on Billy, they must consider that it was not “reasonable” in any way.
“Nothing that Billy Livesley did that night could possibly justify a blow to the head with a weapon of the type Connors’ described,” he said. “Such force that it was driven 12cm into his skull.
“Only a very serious threat could justify such a use of force.”
Speaking about a motive for Billy’s murder, Mr Reid QC admitted that the motive for the attack was “unclear”.
He told the jury that there was ‘bad blood’ between Billy Livesley and Peter Connors.
“There is no evidence of money owed by Billy Livesley to Peter Connors,” he said.
“We can’t be certain why it was that the defendant decided to attack Billy Livesley that night.
=”There was bad blood between himself and Peter Connors. For whatever reason he (Billy) was the target of his aggression and Ricky (Peter) Connors intended serious injury.”
The Defence barrister for Peter Connors, Ben Myers QC:
Mr Myers asked ther jury a what his client has actually done, stating that the evidence against him is “weak.”
He said that Peter Connors did “nothing” to assist or encourage Billy’s murder.
“He drove into a car park angrily making it plain to others how angry he was. He marched over, angrily, shouting.
“Billy Livesley runs off and Peter Connors runs nowhere, he didn’t even walk after him.
“He doesn’t even take one step. He stays at the car window, shouting at Leggy.
“How can any of that be intentionally assisting or encouraging David Connors to do serious harm?”
Mr Myers has said that the prosecution has “no motive” as to why his client would want to seriously harm Billy.
He challenged the argument given by the prosecutor that Peter Connors spotted the 21-year-old in Bickershaw Lane car park “by chance”.
Mr Myers said it was “unlikely” that Connors would have been able to see Billy standing in the car park in the dark.
He told the jury that he thought Connors could have seen Leggy Pownall’s car in the car park, and that it was Leggy Pownall who owed him money.
“We know Billy Livesley was there in the pitch darkness,” he says. “He was there and so was Leggy Pownall. He was in his car and the lights were on.
“How could anyone have noticed who was standing by that door. It’s unlikely to see who was standing there.”
Mr Myers QC also said that there was “no financial link” between Billy Livesley and Peter Connors.
“It is clear that Billy Livesley owed Peter Connors nothing,” he said.
Mr Myers QC said that when Connors came into the car park shouting “where’s my ******* money,” he can’t have been referring to Billy as he owed him nothing.
“It’s not about Billy Livesley.”
“He would have been able to see Leggy’s car in the car park and he would have had a reason to stop to speak to Leggy.”