Steven McMyler murder trial: Alleged attacker claimed robbery plot 'backfired', court told

A man accused of orchestrating a fatal robbery in a Wigan church garden claimed his plot had “backfired”, a court has heard.

Friday, 23rd April 2021, 3:04 pm

Steven McMyler died in the grounds of Wigan Parish Church on the evening of August 6 last year, after being forcefully kicked in the head. It is alleged that Lewis Peake, 30, plotted to rob the 34-year-old of his expensive gold watch.

He is accused of recruiting four males from Merseyside to attack Mr McMyler and steal the £11k timepiece, only for the group to turn on Peake himself, striking him over the head with a bottle and stealing his cash.

At Manchester Crown Square today (April 23), jurors were told that, shortly after the attack, Peake allegedly revealed he had set up the robbery, which had “backfired”.

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Police at the scene of Wigan Parish Church in August 2020

Peake was said to have made the admission to Cassandra Hill, whose Standish home he was temporarily staying at last August, after being dropped off at the house by ambulance in the minutes after Mr McMyler’s death.

Giving evidence in court, Ms Hill said: “Lewis arrived via an ambulance. He came in and told me that he’d been a victim of an assault. He looked like he had been assaulted, he had a bit of glass in his neck.

“He said he’d set up a robbery to get a watch, and it had backfired on him and they’d taken the watch and the money.”

She added: “He said ‘I’ve been beaten up, tell the ambulance driver that you’ll look after me because they want me to go in the ambulance’.

Steven McMyler

“He said ‘I’m not going with them’.”

“He said he’d orchestrated a robbery of a watch, and then he has, in turn, been robbed.”

Ms Hill told prosecutor Mark Ford QC that “some scousers” were responsible for the injury to his head, according to Peake.

She said she noticed a suitcase in her hallway with a bloody handprint on it, which Mr Peake claimed belonged to him. Ms Hill said she had believed this because of Peake’s temporary living arrangements at the time.

In reality, it was Mr McMyler’s, which Peake had taken with him when he fled the scene of the alleged murder.

She also noticed dried blood on Peake’s face, and told him to “go and have a wash”.

“I was fuming, thinking the ambulance is here, there is this blood. I thought ‘I don’t need all this’. I didn’t realise the severity of it,” she said.

Ms Hill went back upstairs to be with her young son. Whilst they were upstairs, she heard a “scuffle” downstairs and realised the police had arrived. They arrested Peake on suspicion of murder.

The following day, Peake returned to the property after his release from custody. She probed him on what had happened, having read news reports about a death in the church gardens.

When she asked Peake what had happened, she said he claimed he and Mr McMyler were friends, and he had been “looking after him”.

The jury heard that Ms Hill later discovered a green Rolex box and a train ticket from Wigan to Heathrow in her house, and later handed them over the police.

Peake, of James Street, Little Lever, Bolton; Wilson, of Northfield Close, Kirkby, and the two youths, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, all deny murder, an alternative count of manslaughter and conspiracy to rob.

Jordan Short, 20, of Rushey Hey Road , Kirkby - is not being tried with the others due to illness, and will face court at a later date. He denies the same charges of murder, manslaughter and conspiracy to rob.

The trial continues on Monday.

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