The grieving girlfriend of a Wigan man broke down in tears when she was asked to describe the look on his face as he was approached by one of the men accused of killing him.
The murder trial at Manchester Crown Court was dramatically brought to a halt yesterday when heavily pregnant Leah Galvin spoke about her partner Billy Livesley.
Prosecutor Paul Reid QC asked her about the look on 21-year-old Billy’s face when Peter “Ricky” Connor approached him in a car park on Bickershaw Lane, Abram, on the evening of Friday, December 28.
Ms Galvin said “scared”, before breaking into tears.
The hearing had to be adjourned for a short time, before she returned to the witness box to finish giving evidence from behind screens.
Ms Galvin was asked again about what she saw.
She said: “He looked quite frightened and it takes a lot for Billy to look frightened. He looked scared, like he knew something was going to happen.”
Brothers Peter Connor, 32, of no fixed address, and David Connors, 24, of Layton Street Caravan Park, Layton Road, Preston, are on trial accused of murdering Billy, from Platt Bridge.
They both deny it.
The court heard Billy previously told his girlfriend that Connor had hit him.
He also told her Connor had asked him to sell drugs, which he refused. She said Billy was already selling cocaine.
On December 28, the couple went out for Chinese food, before returning to Billy’s house and then going to a club in Whelley with friend Dillon Bland.
Billy received a phone call from Sam Spruce asking him to give £80 to John “Leggy” Pownall, who he called and arranged to meet in the car park.
The couple and Mr Bland arrived first and when Mr Pownall got there, Billy got out of the car and went to speak to him through his car window.
Ms Galvin, who remained in the car, did not see him hand over any money, the court heard.
Then a van arrived and Connor got out, approached Billy and shouted to ask where his money was.
It was at this point Ms Galvin described his facial expression as “scared”. She said she thought Connor was going to “batter” him.
However, she did not see him hit Billy or make any contact with him, the court heard.
After Billy was injured, she heard someone say: “I’ve killed him Ricky, I’ve killed him.”
Afterwards, Connor returned to the car park alone and told them not to let Billy swallow his tongue.
Ms Galvin said he was “panicking because he knew he was doing something wrong”.
The court heard he also threatened her, saying the same thing would happen to her if she spoke about it.
Ms Galvin initially told the 999 operator and paramedics that Billy had fallen and cut his head on glass, because she felt “frightened” after Mr Pownall and Connor told her to be quiet.
She said she decided to tell the truth after speaking to Billy’s father.
The court also heard from Andrew Naylor, a friend of Billy’s who was outside his grandmother Pat Livesley’s house with friends that evening when he got a phone call.
Mr Bland told him: “Billy’s down, Jack’s car park” and Mr Naylor and his three friends got in his car, he said.
They initially went to Neville Street in Platt Bridge, thinking he meant Jacko’s Den. But after calling back, they discovered Mr Bland was referring to Jack Pownall, who is John Pownall’s nephew, and went to the car park on Bickershaw Lane
Mr Naylor said Ms Galvin was “hysterical” when he arrived, Mr Bland looked “white” and paramedics were with Billy, who was on the ground. He was bleeding and looked to be fitting, he said.
He asked what had happened and Mr Bland told him Billy had fallen, but he became angry as he thought he was not telling the truth.
“I grabbed hold of him,” he said.
Mr Bland then told him travellers “have had him”.
Mr Naylor told the court about an incident at the funeral of four-year-old Presley Stockton, when Connor shouted him over and told him: “Tell Billy and Jake [Pownall] I’m going to smash their heads in.”
Connor’s barrister Ben Myers QC questioned why he did not tell police about this until his final statement of four and suggested someone else had refreshed his memory of what happened.
But Mr Naylor said he had a “very clear memory” of it and it would take too long if he mentioned “every little detail”.
Connors’ barrister Tim Clark QC asked Mr Naylor about several verbal incidents involving his client and Billy, but he denied knowing about them.
He disputed the suggestion that Billy carried weapons, saying he was “not a violent person”.
Statements were read to the court from two paramedics who were called to Bickershaw Lane at 9.24pm on December 28. They said it was a “category one emergency call” and when they arrived they found Billy lying on the floor on his right side, close to a pool of blood.
There were several people there and the paramedics said Ms Galvin told them Billy had fallen.
He had a “significant” injury and was taken to the ambulance on a spinal board, where the paramedics worked on him.
A black car with three to four men in arrived and there was a scuffle between them, with one paramedic saying she feared for her safety, and police were called.
Billy was taken to Wigan Infirmary, with Ms Galvin allowed to travel in the ambulance.
The court heard he stopped breathing on the way to the hospital for about a minute, but was treated and started breathing unaided.