Man accused of murdering Ashley Dale admits speaking to her boyfriend after fleeing to Dubai

Ashley Dale worked as an Environmental Health worker at Knowsley Council. Credit: Family photograph

A man on trial for the murder of Ashley Dale spoke to her boyfriend while in Dubai after her death, a court has heard.

Ashley Dale, 28, was shot with a Skorpion sub-machine in her home in Old Swan, Liverpool, at around 12:30am on 21 August last year following an alleged feud between five men accused of her murder and her partner Lee Harrison.

Giving evidence to Liverpool Crown Court on Tuesday 7 November, defendant Ian Fitzgibbon, 28, denied being part of the plan to kill Mr Harrison which resulted in Miss Dale's death.

Mr Fitzgibbon who described being "shocked" and "scared" after the shooting, said he travelled to Dubai in the days after to avoid revenge and because he feared being wrongly implicated.

Ashley Dale with her dog. Credit: Family photo.

He said: “When I was in Dubai, I spoke to Lee. Lee arrived in Dubai and wanted to meet me in Dubai. I’d gone to Spain.

“He knows this is nothing to do with me.”

The court was shown a photograph of him with his sister Claudia having a meal on the terrace at the Galliard hotel in Dubai on 27 August last year.

Paul Greaney KC, prosecuting, questioned Fitzgibbon whether the image showed him looking “shocked” and “scared”.

The defendant said: “Facing me is my nan and grandad. It’s my sister’s birthday. ‘Cause I’m smiling on a picture, doesn’t mean I’ve changed how I felt inside. I’m not going to sit there crying about it.”

Ashley Dale, 28, worked for Knowsley council as an environment health officer. Credit: Family photo

In August this year, the court was told how Fitzgibbon was arrested in Spain.

He said: “My girlfriend got pregnant. She’s from Spain so I stayed in Spain.

“I didn’t know there was an arrest warrant out for me until I came into a road stop in Spain and was arrested.”

On August 20 last year, Fitzgibbon was at a flat in Pilch Lane, Huyton, with co-defendants Sean Zeisz, 28, Joseph Peers, 29, Niall Barry, 26, and James Witham, 41, the jury was told.

The prosecution alleges the flat was the “centre of operations” for the murder plot and Peers and Witham left to carry out the shooting.

Fitzgibbon said messages and attempts to call Witham after he left the flat at 10.10pm were to ask if he was coming back to watch the boxing match between Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk.

He said it was “untrue” that he was getting in touch to see how the “plot” was progressing.

He said: “Because I’ve contacted a man to come and watch the boxing, I’m standing trial.”

Mr Greaney suggested Fitzgibbon had “chosen a side” and was involved in the plot.

Fitzgibbon said: “You’ve got it completely wrong.”

Fitzgibbon, Barry, Zeisz, Peers and Witham, deny the murder of Miss Dale, conspiracy to murder Mr Harrison and conspiracy to possess a prohibited weapon – a Skorpion sub-machine gun – and ammunition.

Witham admits manslaughter.

Kallum Radford, 26, denies assisting an offender.

The trial continues.