Dec 29, 2008 The wall of silence that hides Andrew Jones's killer
Andrew Jones went out in Liverpool to celebrate his cousin’s birthday. Two days later he was dead after an attack in the city centre.
Despite a collapsed court case and a number of arrests, the teenager’s killer is still at large.
And at his inquest a line-up of witnesses all failed to recollect seeing who threw the blow that caused his death. It led to a solicitor asking two if they felt no shame at their answers.
Today the ECHO puts them all in the spotlight
POPULAR Everton fan Andrew Jones died nearly six years ago.
The teenage fork lift truck driver, of Cherry Lane, Walton, was on a night out in the city centre when he became separated from his friends.
He walked home along Hanover Street at 3.15am on Sunday March 9.
That night, a group of friends, unknown to Andrew, were also out celebrating.
James Roberts, Lee Paul, Michael Stevens, Neil Jones, James Foy and Chris Townsend were among a group also in Hanover Street.
Michelle Kelly, Mr Stevens’s then-girlfriend, was there with her friend Hayley Morrisey, as was Mr Paul’s then-girlfriend Danielle Phillips. Independent eyewitness Simone Simpson told Andrew’s inquest earlier this month she saw the teenager facing a group of four males.
She said she saw him in the middle of the road, walking backwards and gesturing with his palms up.
Then she saw a male in a white top throw a punch and watched as Andrew fell to the floor.
Ms Simpson later used CCTV to identify Lee Paul as the man who struck Andrew.
It is a suggestion he has always denied and he has never been charged in connection with the killing.
Mr Roberts, then 20 and from Huyton, was charged with Andrew’s death, but later acquitted.
The investigation into Andrew’s death remains open and is periodically reviewed by Merseyside police.
But to this day, Andrew’s killer remains at large. The witnesses NEIL JONES
THE rail operations manager is the only one of the group to recall the punch which killed Andrew.
But he told Andrew’s inquest he did not know the killer’s identity because the punch came from behind him.
The 27-year-old told the inquest he stepped between Andrew and Lee Paul, who were arguing.
He said he could not remember if Mr Paul walked away, but said he “would have known” if he was the one to punch Andrew.
At the time, the court heard he gave a police statement saying he told Andrew to “leave it” because Mr Paul was an “idiot”.
Andrew’s family’s solicitor Mark George said Mr Jones was a prosecution witness against James Roberts.
He said Mr Jones told police Mr Roberts had confessed to killing Andrew.
He said he told officers the arm which punched Andrew wore black and that Mr Roberts was wearing black, whereas Mr Paul wore white.
But Mr George said Mr Jones failed to remember these details at court and Mr Roberts was later acquitted on the direction of a judge.
Mr Jones told the inquest he could not remember the conversation with Mr Roberts or anything said at his trial.
Coroner Andre Rebello said he had “selective amnesia”, while Mr George accused him of helping to create a false story to keep the real killer at large.
He said Mr Jones would have seen the person who punched Andrew.
Mr Jones agreed his car had been trashed and a brick put through his window, but denied he was too frightened to tell the truth. MICHAEL STEVENS
MICHAEL Stevens was initially arrested and accused of killing Andrew – although it was his friend James Roberts who would later be charged.
Mr Stevens told Andrew’s inquest he did not know who hit the 18-year-old.
He said he saw a man arguing with his friend Lee Paul, but said Mr Paul did not hit Andrew.
He also said no-one in the group of friends confessed to punching Andrew.
Mr Stevens said he did not punch, kick or stamp on Andrew that night, although Liverpool coroner Andre Rebello said he was satisfied “on the balance of probabilities” he was the man seen to kick Andrew as he lay dying on the floor.
The Jones family solicitor Mark George said to him: “Don’t you feel ashamed standing there telling bare-faced lies? Deep inside you have a burning secret – you know who killed Andrew Jones and it happens to be a friend of yours.”
Mr Stevens did not reply. CHRIS TOWNSEND
CHRIS Townsend told the inquest he had no memory of the 2003 attack or the fact he signed a statement about it two years ago.
Mr George asked him about the 2005 Champions League final, also a memorable event, but Mr Townsend said he had no memory of it.
Asked if he was even aware a team called Liverpool played in the city and wore red, Mr Townsend replied that he did not know.
Mr George told him: “You could tell us who it was, but you do not have the courage or common decency.
“This is just your coward’s way out.”
Mr Townsend replied: “I do not remember.”
Coroner Andre Rebello told him: “If, when you went out that night, there was a traumatic, serious event, unique in your experience, then it is highly implausible you would not recall it for the rest of your life.” LEE PAUL
LEE Paul was on his birthday night out on March 8, 2003.
During the inquest, Mr George said Mr Paul had given three versions of what happened that night.
When questioned at the inquest, he said he was in the city centre with friends when a man deliberately collided with them.
He said he told that man to watch where he was going and the man had called him a “kn**head”.
Mr Paul said the man stepped off the path and was gesturing to him to come forward. He said he admitted saying something abusive to him and walked 6ft towards him, but was then pulled back by his girlfriend Danielle Phillips.
He said he had no further physical or verbal contact with the man.
He denied striking Andrew and said he did not know who was responsible for doing it. DANIELLE PHILLIPS
DANIELLE Phillips told the inquest she and Lee Paul had been arguing that night because he wanted to leave and she wanted to stay in town.
She said Andrew appeared, walked between them and knocked into Lee’s shoulder.
She said: “Lee swung to his left. He asked Andrew to watch where he was going. They started to have a bit of an argument. It was just swearing at each other.
“Andrew was arguing back with Lee. I pulled Lee’s arm and we carried on walking.”
The coroner told her an independent eyewitness believed her then-boyfriend was the killer.
“No,” she replied. “I pulled his arm and we carried on walking up the road.
“Andrew walked away from us then.” JAMES ROBERTS
JAMES Roberts, known as “Jay”, was charged with Andrew’s death but partway through his trial, in October 2003, he was acquitted on the direction of a judge.
During the inquest – the first time he had given evidence – he denied punching Andrew or admitting to anyone he had done so.
He said he had not witnessed the incident and did not recall anything of the night at all.
He said he could not point the finger at anyone, because he did not know who it was.
He denied he and Neil Jones fabricated a confession to deliberately mislead the police and denied knowing Mr Jones was going to have a “lapse of memory” before the trial. MICHELLE KELLY
MICHELLE Kelly, who is now Lee Paul’s partner, told the inquest she did not remember anything about the night, apart from the fact she was out with her friend Hayley Morrisey.
She said she did not know who was responsible for Andrew’s death and could not remember seeing him lying on the floor.
She also said she could not remember helping Andrew as he lay on the floor.
She denied she was telling lies or was frightened of giving evidence. HAYLEY MORRISEY
HAYLEY Morrisey told the inquest she could not remember anything anyone did or said that night.
She said she recalled hailing a cab and having her back turned when Andrew Jones was punched.
She then said she remembered kneeling next to the dying 18-year-old.
Mr George said she gave a police statement at the time saying she saw the male [Andrew] with his hands up, back-pedalling and shouting something that sounded like “what are you on about?”
He said she told officers she then turned back to the cab driver and when she looked again, the male was lying motionless on his back.
He said she recalled in her statement seeing her friends near a wall.
But she could recall none of that at Andrew’s inquest.
Mr George said: “Don’t you feel any sense of shame? You saw nothing, you heard nothing, you know nothing.
“What has happened to you since March 2003 that has caused this memory loss?”
Ms Morrissey said she could remember so little of the night, it was like she was not there. JAMES FOY
JAMES Foy told the inquest he saw Andrew lying on the floor but had not seen him beforehand.
He said he was aware there was a bit of a commotion and was trying to pull one of the girls away from the scene. He said at the time he believed Lee Paul was walking ahead of him arguing with his girlfriend and he did not recall seeing James Roberts.
Mr Rebello told him it was “refreshing” for someone to go into the witness box and say what they recalled. Coroner records verdict
LIVERPOOL coroner Andre Rebello said there was only one person - to his mind - who could have killed Andrew Jones.
He said: “From the evidence of the independent witnesses, the person who punched Andrew wore a light top. That discounts James Roberts and Chris Townsend.
“I am satisfied on the balance of probabilities Michael Stevens was the person who kicked Andrew, who was lying dying on the ground.
“There is therefore only one person in the proximity of Andrew who could have thrown the punch.
“That person is on my mind.”
Mr Rebello said there were people who would leave court under a shadow because one of them was a killer and, apart from independent eye witnesses, there was “very little assistance” from the others in remembering what happened that night.
He recorded a verdict of unlawful killing. http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/wall-silence-hides-andrew-joness-3465738