A man whose DNA was found at the scene of a ‘public execution’ has been cleared of murder

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A man whose DNA was found on a casing left at the scene of a ‘public execution’ was cleared today.

Patrick Boyle, 26, was shot dead in Huyton just before 6pm on Thursday July 1 last year when prosecutors said he had ‘no mercy’. It has been alleged that Rueben Murphy, 26, was the shooter on an e-bike and carried out the murder with the help of Ben Doyle, 24.

A third man, 20-year-old Thomas Walker, has also been accused by prosecutors of being an “accomplice to the murder”. Liverpool Crown Court heard his DNA was found on a bullet cartridge found in Newway, a cul-de-sac near Lordens Road where Mr Boyle was shot.

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But a jury was instructed today to return formal ‘not guilty’ verdicts against Walker on charges of murder, possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life and possession of ammunition with intent to put life threatening. This was after Walker admitted to a charge of possession of ammunition without a firearms certificate.

Ian Unsworth, QC, told the court that the Crown wanted to add this charge, Count Four, to the indictment, in respect of Walker alone. This was approved by High Court Judge Mr Justice Stephen Morris.

Walker, of no fixed address but formerly of Clubmoor, pleaded guilty to the charge. He admitted that “on an unknown day or days, between January 1, 2021 and July 1, 2021”, he was in possession of ammunition “namely a quantity of 9mm parabellum caliber cartridges”.

Mr Unsworth said: “My Lord, the Crown has an essential duty to keep the evidence under review and we have done just that. In our view, after carefully considering all relevant factors, we are satisfied in the Mr. Walker’s case, the way of counting four is appropriate.

“Bearing in mind the totality of the evidence in the case, we consider that it is no longer appropriate to pursue counts one through three and, in the case of Mr Walker, we will propose to present only no proof.”

Peter Wright, QC, defending Walker, said the wording of the particulars of the charge, which he said “could be a matter of legal significance”, was “between” the January 1 and July 1 dates. He said: “In other words, he pleads guilty on the basis of possession of a single cartridge of ammunition, this is the only cartridge on which the unloaded cartridge found at the scene bore his DNA, and that his possession of this cartridge of ammunition, was on a date other than the date of shooting.”

Judge Morris ordered the jury to return formal “not guilty” verdicts against Walker on the other allegations. After a short break, the trial resumed without Walker in the dock.

In an unrelated development, earlier today a juror was removed, meaning the trial continued with an 11-person jury instead of 12. Judge Morris told the remaining jurors “I have decided that it is not possible for juror number three to continue to serve on this jury.

“It has come to my attention and the attention of others that he has been having difficulty concentrating on the proceedings in court for the past few days. As a result, I have removed him from his duties on this jury .”

Prosecutors allege Lyme Grove in Huyton, where Doyle lived, was “a hub for launching the fatal attack.” They say CCTV suggests there was an ‘altercation’ there, involving two men, one of whom was an associate of Mr Boyle, at around 12.40pm.

Mr Unsworth told the jury that Murphy was seen running away afterwards, before making phone calls and texting Doyle and Walker. Other CCTV clips reportedly show Doyle on a blue and white Sur-Ron e-bike in Lyme Grove at 1:51 p.m.

The jury heard the bike, then partially “wrapped in black bin bags”, was seen leaving the back garden of a property two houses from Doyle’s home at 5.40pm. Prosecutors allege Doyle was on a bicycle and was soon joined by Murphy, who they say then separated from his associate and used the bicycle to travel to Newway and commit the murder.

The victim was hit by at least two bullets just after 5:56 p.m. The jury were shown footage of the alleged shooter – who is believed to have been wearing black gloves – then walking towards Barkbeth Road in Huyton, where Murphy was living at the time.

Prosecutors said the cyclist left the camera in that area for about eight minutes. A detective told the jury that CCTV showed the cyclist – no longer wearing gloves and with the dark material wrapped around the bike more visible – then drove to Lyme Grove, where he arrived at 6:08 p.m. and had a ” interaction” with a man said to be Doyle.

Murphy, of Oak Avenue, Newton-le-Willows; and Doyle, of Lyme Grove; Huyton, denies murder, possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life, and possession of ammunition with intent to endanger life.

(Procedure)

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