Nine men all deny conspiring to murder Wigan dad Christopher Hughes

Nine men accused of conspiring to murder a Wigan dad have all entered not guilty pleas.

By Charles Graham
Monday, 20th June 2022, 4:53 pm
Updated Monday, 20th June 2022, 4:53 pm

Christopher Hughes, 37, from Marsh Green, disappeared on Friday February 18 after he was seen getting into the back of a vehicle on Almond Grove, Worsley Hall.

Police issued an appeal for help to find him, but his body was discovered on White Moss Road South, near the M58 in Skelmersdale, four days later.

A post-mortem examination concluded that he had died from multiple injuries in what had been described as a “frenzied attack”.

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Christopher Hughes with his mum Susan

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The nine men have been arrested in the intervening months and on Monday June 20, all of them appeared before a Manchester Crown Court judge to deny the single charge against each of them.

They are: Martin Smith, 33, of Laithwaite Road, Worsley Hall, Andrius Uzkuraitis, 26, of Holly Road, Worsley Hall; Alan Jaf, 51, of Ridyard Street, Worsley Hall; Khalil Awla, 48, of Greenwood Avenue, Worsley Hall; Erland Spahiu, 33, of Uppingham, Skelmersdale; Curtis Balbas, 30, of Matheson Drive, Worsley Hall; Dean Smeaton O'Neill-Davey, 29 of Bulteel Street, Pemberton; Mohammed Razgar, 40, of Plane Avenue, Worsley Hall; and Erion Voja, 20, of Peall Road, Croydon, London.

They were all remanded in custody pending a case management hearing on July 25.

A trial date has already been set for October 17 but it has not yet been decided whether it will take place at Manchester Crown Square or Liverpool Crown Court.

Police are continuing to investigate Mr Hughes’ death and anyone with information is asked to contact them, quoting Operation Feverfew, either online or by calling 0161 856 3400.

Information can also be shared anonymously via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.