Wigan man on trial for murder of dad Christopher Hughes implicates two co-accused as he gives evidence

A man accused of kidnapping and murdering a Wigan dad has dramatically implicated two of his co-accused in the offences.
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Alan Jaf, of Ridyard Street, Worsley Hall, is on trial at Liverpool Crown Court accused of killing Christopher Hughes, who was found hacked to death after allegedly being hunted by a vigilante gang who suspected him of rape.

The jury heard how 37-year-old Mr Hughes was bundled into the boot of an Audi on February 18, driven to a country lane near the M58 and attacked with weapons including a machete.

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A Home Office pathologist “catalogued over 90 sharp force injuries to Christopher Hughes’ head, neck, body and limbs – the vast majority of these injuries were inflicted whilst he was still alive,” said John Elvidge, KC, prosecuting.

His body was found four days later, heaving bled to death.

Mr Elvidge has alleged the defendants – who deny murder, kidnapping and conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm – formed a team “to track, trace and capture him”.

He claimed they believed “rightly or wrongly” that Mr Hughes had raped a teenage girl.

Mr Elvidge claimed the day before the attack, the nine defendants spent time trying to find him.

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They are Jaf; Martin Smith, 34, of Greenwood Avenue, Worsley Hall; Andrius Uzkuraitis, 27, of Holly Road, Worsley Hall; Dean O’Neill-Davey, 30, of Conrad Close, formerly of Bulteel Street; Mohammed Razgar, 40, of Plane Avenue, Worsley Hall; Khalil Awla, 48, of Greenwood Avenue, Worsley Hall; Curtis Balbas, 30, of Matheson Drive, Worsley Hall; and Albanian cousins Erland Spahiu, 34, of Uppingham, Skelmersdale, and Erion Voja, 21, of Peall Road, Croydon, London.

The prosecution claims Balbas and Spahiu punched Mr Hughes on Almond Grove, Worsley Hall and forced him into the car.

Giving evidence, Jaf, 52, said he returned from a holiday to his homeland of Iraq that day and learned about the attack on the girl.

He said he and others, including Balbas and Razgar, looked for CCTV footage to see who was responsible. He said he would have given any evidence to the police.

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Spaihiu, Smith, O’Neill-Davey and Voja also turned up, he said.

Jaf admitted he twice went to Hampden Place – where Mr Hughes lived – after rumours he was responsible for the rape, but said he had “no intention doing any bad to him. I don’t even have a parking ticket.”

Jaf said that on February 18, Spahiu “mentioned Curtis did something stupid”.

Jaf said he asked Curtis (Balbas) if he had done something wrong and he replied, “nothing for you to worry about. Don’t worry, Dean will sort it out for me.”

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He told the jury Balbas said he had “put someone in a car”. He said it was Ozzie – a nickname for Mr Hughes.

Jaf said O’Neill-Davey arrived and said, “I’m going to help him out and bury the body.”

The prosecution claimed that after the killing, a “burial party” including O’Neill-Davey, Spahiu, Voja and Uzkuraitis, travelled to Skelmersdale and was digging a grave when they were disturbed by police investigating a traffic accident.

Also in the dock is Michael Gibbons, 47, of Bulteel Street, Wigan, who denies perverting the course of justice. This allegedly involves providing false information to the police and helping to dispose of the car.

The case continues.