Wigan man denies helping dispose of car after murder of dad Christopher Hughes
The final defendant involved in the murder trial of Wigan man Christopher Hughes to give evidence has denied taking part in the aftermath.
It is claimed that 47-year-old Michael Gibbons helped one of his co-accused dispose of the blue Audi into which the victim had been bundled and driven away to meet his death.
Gibbons, who described himself to the jury as “the only Scouser in Wigan", is also accused of providing false information to police.
A jury at Liverpool Crown Court has heard that a gang of nine were involved in a manhunt to find 37-year-old Mr Hughes, whom they believed had been responsible for the knifepoint rape of a teenage girl.
After being forced into the boot of the car on Almond Grove on February by Curtis Balbas, allegedly assisted by Erland Spahiu, Mr Hughes was driven to White Moss Road South, Skelmersdale.
John Elvidge, KC has told the court that there, despite his attempts to defend himself, he suffered at least 90 stab wounds and was left to bleed to death. His body was found by a dog walker four days later.
Gibbons, of Bulteel Street, Wigan, denies two offences of perverting the courses of justice.
Balbas, 30, of Matheson Drive, Worsley Hall has admitted kidnapping and murder. Eight other men are still on trial denying those offences and conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm.
Questioned by his barrister Daniel Travers, Gibbons told how he and co-accused Dean O’Neill-Davey were next-door neighbours and it was normal for them to give each other lifts to various places.
He said that on Saturday, February 19 O’Neill-Davey rang him “and asked would I pick him up from the body shop”.
The court has been told that Balbas and O’Neill-Davey had been in touch about disposing the car, which was taken to a unit at Douglas Mill in Standish for dismantling and breaking into pieces.
Gibbons said his neighbour had asked him to pick him up between 9 and 10 pm, but he told him that was too late but took him earlier.
Asked if he had known which car O’Neill-Davey had dropped off, he said he had not and if he had known it had been used in a murder, “I would not have picked him up because I would not get involved in stuff like that.”
He said the whole area was full of rumours about the death of Mr Hughes, but that O’Neill-Davey had not told him anything about the kidnap or murder.
Gibbons, who lives with his teenage daughter, said there was information about it on Facebook and he asked O’Neill-Davey, “What the f…s going on here?”
The prosecution claim that Gibbons deliberately lied to police when interviewed, but he claimed he had just got his days mixed up when initially quizzed about events and did not mention the trip to Standish as he did not think it relevant.
“Did you believe O’Neill-Davey had anything to do with this murder?” asked Mr Travers. “No, I still don’t,” he replied.
Gibbons, who has a skip business, said O’Neill-Davey did tell him he had had to go to move Mr Hughes’ body but “got halfway there and s… himself.”