Man cleared of killing Wigan dad-to-be Billy Livesley speaks of fearing for safety after petrol bomb incident

The man acquitted of murdering a father-to-be in Wigan says he feared for his safety after a petrol bomb was thrown at his home.

Friday, 23rd August 2019, 11:27 am
Peter Connors
Peter Connors

Peter Connors, known as Ricky, wants to rebuild his life after being released from prison and returning to the borough just a few weeks ago.

He was found not guilty of both murder and manslaughter after 21-year-old Billy Livesley was attacked in a car park on Bickershaw Lane, Abram on December 28.

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Peter Connors

His brother David Connors, 26, was convicted of murder after a trial at Manchester Crown Court and jailed for life, with a minimum term of 17 years.

He hit Billy, from Platt Bridge, over the head with a metal bar, causing a fatal injury.

Now, Mr Connors says he is trying to resume his life, having returned to Bamfurlong after months in custody.

But he fears for his safety after a petrol bomb was thrown over a wall on Sunday night and exploded on the caravan site where he lives.

Father-of-three Mr Connors was watching television with partner Lucy Jolley, who was visiting from her home in Hindley, when they heard an explosion.

A beer bottle with a rag inside and what was thought to be paraffin was alight, but burned out before it caused any damage.

It landed near the caravan and gas canisters placed next to it.

Mr Connors’ mother, his 14-year-old son and a dog were also on the site off Lily Lane when the improvised weapon was thrown.

Mr Connors, 32, said: “It was a genuine mistake what happened to Billy, it wasn’t meant to happen to Billy. It was a tragedy but my little brother didn’t mean to do what happened to Billy. On both sides of the family it’s a big tragedy.

“Obviously no-one wants any bother. I don’t know where it came from. The police are ongoing with it now.

“We are scared for our lives, in case anything happened to the kids or anyone in the caravans.”

He said CCTV footage, which has been given to the police, shows two men getting out of a white van and then running off.

While it is not known who threw the bottle, Mr Connors suspects the incident could be linked to Billy’s murder.

He said it was the first time he had faced any trouble since being released from custody.

But he said it was a “big shock” to leave prison and adjust to life in Wigan.

“I have had a lot of stress,” he said. “Sometimes I get a bit nervous being around a lot of people and you think people are talking about you. I go away and think it’s not, it’s just things in my brain. I can’t mix with a lot of people. I wake up at night thinking about it.”

Mr Connors said he prefers to spend time by himself or with his family and stays on the caravan site when he can.

But he wants to start work and is setting up a new business in tree service.

He said: “I’m looking to the future and setting goals and making future plans and getting on with my life and keeping out of trouble.”

Despite what has happened, Mr Connors does not want to leave Wigan and the caravan site where he lives with his family.

He said: “We don’t live in houses, we are travellers and live together and look after one another. My mum is an old lady and we believe in looking after our family.”

He hopes there will be no further incidents so he and his family can get on with their lives.

Sunday’s petrol bomb followed an arson attack on the site in February, in which a caravan was destroyed.

He said: “All we want to do is be left alone to live our lives on our own property on the caravan park. We don’t want any trouble with anyone.”

At the same time, he says he does feel for Billy’s loved ones, who continue to grieve for the man described by his mother as “one in a million”.

Mr Connors said: “I have got big sympathy for Billy’s family. It was a genuine mistake what happened. There was no animosity for Billy, it was a genuine freak accident.”

He said he felt sorry for Billy’s girlfriend Leah Galvin and their baby son Billy Junior, who was born earlier this month and will never get to meet his father.

Police are continuing to investigate the petrol bomb and said earlier this week that they were treating it as arson.

However, he says his encounters with the authorities have left him with very mixed feelings.

He said: "Wigan CID have been absolutely fantastic, but the local police in the area don't do a thing for us."

Anyone with information about what happened is asked to call them on 0161 856 4409 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.