How Ashley Dale's quiet night in front of the TV turned to horror
20.11.2023 - 23:14
On a rainy Saturday in August last year, Ashley Dale was enjoying a quiet night in, watching TV in her pyjamas with her dog Darla beside her, when her front door was knocked down and she was shot dead with a Skorpion submachine gun.
The 28-year-old council worker was days away from starting a promotion at work when she was gunned down in her home on Leinster Road in Old Swan, Liverpool. It was a tangled web of fighting over drugs, women and revenge - with her boyfriend Lee Harrison at the heart of it - that led to her tragic death, the Liverpool Echo reports.
The gunman, James Witham, and his driver, Joseph Peers, had been sent to Ashley's home by Niall Barry, a tall, stocky drug and firearms trafficker, who went by the nickname 'Branch'. But it wasn't Ashley they were looking for - it was Harrison.
READ MORE: The faces of Ashley Dale's killers as four men are convicted of murder
Read more court stories from the Manchester Evening News here.
Harrison and Barry had once been the best of friends, working together in the trade of illicit substances, but their partnership eventually devolved into a deadly feud.
Branch's dispute with the man known as 'Saz' began around 2018 after drugs worth about £40,000 were robbed from a stash house under Barry's control. The blame was placed on an organised crime group based on the Hillside estate in Huyton that Harrison had been affiliated with.
This was set against a background in which Barry had been "taking the p***" out of him by "bumping" him, adulterating drugs before supplying them to him in order to keep a bigger share of the profits for himself. And Harrison, Ashley's partner, supposedly remained loyal to these newfound enemies.
In the aftermath, Branch seemed to drop