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'Hit team' who shot Ashley Dale dead lied in faces of grieving family at court

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James Witham's tall tales from the witness box were so unbelievable they might have been considered almost comical had they not come against such a horrific and tragic background.

Over the course of two days in the sixth week of his trial at Liverpool Crown Court, the dad with a taste for Thai massage parlours regaled the jurors with larger than life stories of brothers Big Dave and Little Dave, reports the Liverpool Echo.He recalled digging up a loaded Skorpion submachine gun in a 220-acre park just five minutes after he had set to work with a shovel which, by good fortune, he happened to have stashed in the boot of his car.But Witham's outrageous lies about the minutes and hours led up to the moment he cut short the life of a young 28-year-old woman, one full of promise and hope, when he discharged a hail of bullets in her dining room as she fled for her back door in terror.He was standing just metres in front of the grieving family of Ashley Dale in court as he tried to pull the wool over the eyes of the jury.And he was not just lying to their faces just for the fun of it.

The gunman was attempting to get himself and his mates off with murder.Witham was following the lead of the other member of the "hit team", Joseph Peers.Once a promising boxer who counted pro football players among his friends, the trained gas fitter was tasked with being the shooter's right hand man - including whisking him to and from the scene in Old Swan.Not that he would ever admit to the crime.

While Witham was forced to admit his part in the plot after his new trainers left behind footprints within 40 Leinster Road and his DNA was found on a bullet casing within Ashley's home, Peers continued playing dumb and claimed a series of

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