Murder accused had ‘£10 in sock’

Victim: Mr Leatherbarrow
Victim: Mr Leatherbarrow
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A man accused of stabbing another man to death in a Leyland flat waited more than an hour to call emergency services, a court was told.

Barry Cookson, 41, told friend Gary Irvine he had “battled” with John Leatherbarrow over a half-gram drugs debt on the morning he was killed, admitting he had stabbed the man.

Dennis Watson QC, prosecuting, told Preston Crown Court: “He (Cookson) was told by several people he should phone the ambulance because of the situation but his reluctance to do so speaks volumes that he was the attacker.”

On the first day of the trial, the court heard Mr Leatherbarrow had left his home in Ulnes Walton at around 10.20am, with £10 he had borrowed from his mother, to buy heroin from Cookson.

Two hours later he was found dead at the flat in Westfield Drive, with fatal stab wounds to his leg and buttock and a mock tourniquet tied around his leg.

Cookson was on the stairs using a mobile phone when officers attended the bloody scene - after receiving a call from a neighbour. Cookson was arrested and taken to Royal Preston Hospital as he himself had sustained wounds in the fight.

On his way to hospital a £10 note was found in his sock.

Mr Watson said: “We suggest that £10 was the £10 Mr Leatherbarrow had set off with that morning.”

During interview Cookson told officers he had no recollection of Mr Irvine calling at his flat on the morning of the attack.

He said Mr Leatherbarrow had attacked him for no reason, using a hammer and throwing punches.

One neighbour, who looked out from across the street, said she had heard raised voices and seen three men.

She had noticed one of the men was on the ground and heard the words “Get up John or I’ll kick you up.”

Mr Watson said the woman noticed the defendant “nudging” the man with his foot encouraging him to move.

However, during interview Cookson told officers the woman could not have seen anyone else and had not seen him kick the man.

He admitted Mr Leatherbarrow had taken more heroin from him than he had paid for the week before but told officers it wasn’t a problem.

Mr Watson said: “The true motivation for the attack on John Leatherbarrow was this defendant’s belief that Mr Leatherbarrow owed him some money.”

He added: “Barry Cookson knew that John Leatherbarrow was gravely injured but he did not call emergency services for over an hour.

“The prosecution submits that Cookson intended to cause Mr Leatherbarrow serious bodily harm and that he is guilty of murder.”

Cookson denies the charge.