Confusion reigned over the proceedings of Billy Livesley’s murder trial when the prosecution’s star witness said his police interview was a “pack of lies”.
Witness Christopher Price – cousin to both Ricky Connor and David Myles Connors, who are on trial for the 21-year-old’s killing back in December – said that he made up his initial statement which implicates the pair heavily in his death.
Related: Billy Livesley murder trial: Dad-to-be suffered a fatal blow to the head during fracas, court hears
The court spent the morning of the second day of the trial on Thursday watching Mr Price’s police interview in which he reported that Connor, 32, said “he’s dead” just moments before Billy, a dad-to-be, was allegedly struck in the head with a crowbar by Connors.
Connor, of no fixed address, and Connors, of Layton Street Caravan Park, Layton Road, Preston, both deny murder.
A jury of four men and eight women heard how on December 28, Christopher Price along with Jimmy Price, David “Davey” Connors and Kevin Shaw, had left The Triangle Club on Bolton Road and travelled in a white Connect van towards their home at Bickershaw caravan site.
During his police interview, Mr Price told police that the four men had picked up Peter “Ricky” Connors along the way from his home in Bamfurlong.
As they drove along Bickershaw Lane, Mr Price said that they saw Billy Livesley in a car park.
The prosecution’s case is that he had arrived there at 9.20pm to meet John “Leggy” Pownall, after receiving a phone call saying he “wanted his £80 back”.
Mr Price, who was initially arrested on suspicion of Billy’s murder but later released, told interviewing officers that Connor was “angry and bitter” when he saw him in the car park.
He told them an infuriated Connor said “he’s dead” just before asking Jimmy Price to turn the van around and pull in.
According to Christopher Price’s interview, as soon as the van pulled over, Connor jumped out and started “chasing” Billy around Leggy’s car.
It was then, he said, that Connors aka Davey, jumped out of the van, striking Billy in the head with an “inch-wide” crowbar.
Despite his lengthy, recorded interview, Mr Price denied he knew anything about Billy’s murder, saying that his statement was “a load of lies”.
When asked why he would lie about it, he said “I don’t know”.
Following this, Christopher Price continued to tell both prosecution and defence counsel that he knew nothing about the incident and that he was “home with his wife” when Billy was attacked.
However, during his police interview, Mr Price told police that he knew Billy was dead because David Connors was screaming “I killed him”.
In a 54-minute sitting with officers, Mr Price explained how all five of the men allegedly present at Billy’s attack were “panicking and crying” on the way back to the caravan park.
He also told them how he burnt his clothes on arrival because he was so worried about being implicated in his death.
On cross examination, Mr Price continued to deny all knowledge of the incident. During the course of the second day, he even told the court that he did not know Billy Livesley, who he told police he had known for “years”.
Defence barrister for David Connors told the court that Peter Connor had only been dressed for a short trip out of the house - wearing a short-sleeved shirt and flip-flops.
He said that “no one expected” anything to happen that night and that is why they were all so upset.
Tim Clark QC suggested that Connors, Jimmy Price, Kevin Shaw and Christopher Price had carried out a commercial burglary the day before and that the only reason they had picked Peter Connor up that night was to show him the stolen tools.
During the burglary, he said, a “pry bar” was used and along with the stolen goods, was put into the Ford Connect van.
He said that the stolen tools were later removed from the van so that the four could travel around without “hot goods” in the back of their vehicle, but not the “pry bar”.
After a difficult round of questioning from all three barristers, the jury was shown footage from a police interview with another prosecution witness.
Dillon Bland, a friend of Billy’s who was in the car park with him when he was attacked, said that he felt “scared” after seeing him drop to the floor.
He told police how Connor had come to check his lifeless friend while he lay bleeding on the floor, saying “he’s going to be okay” before threatening him to keep his mouth shut.