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Wednesday, 20 August 2014

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Victim called murder accused 'wannabe gangster', Carlisle trial told

Murder victim Luke Hollingsworth suspected his alleged killer had stolen drugs from him before his death.

Luke Hollingsworth photo
Luke Hollingsworth

Related: Carlisle murder trial: Victim ‘dead for some time’ before his body found

Related: Carlisle bar worker found dead in blood-spattered bathroom

Mr Hollingsworth, 23, had also fallen out with hisformer best friend Jamie Armstrong and called him a “mug” and “wannabe gangster”, Carlisle Crown Court heard.

Pub worker Mr Hollingsworth was discovered dead in his home in Etterby Lea Road, in Stanwix, Carlisle, on July 10 last year after suffering multiple stab wounds.

Armstrong, 21, of Warwick Road, Carlisle, denies killing him – claiming that the pair were attacked by two men demanding money and drugs.

The second day of his murder trial yesterday heard how Mr Hollingsworth believed Armstrong had stolen a safe containing cannabis from his home a few weeks earlier.

Mr Hollingsworth’s girlfriend, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, said he and Armstrong used to be best friends and had lived together.

But the woman believed they had fallen out some time in 2012.

She also revealed that Mr Hollingsworth had borrowed about £600 from Armstrong to pay off a drug debt and had been paying him back gradually.

She said he had referred to Armstrong on his phone as a “mug” and described him as a “wannabe gangster”.

And she claimed Mr Hollingsworth had suspected Armstrong of stealing the safe as he was one of only a couple of people who knew about it and he “didn’t trust him”.

The woman also recalled how she discovered her boyfriend dead in his blood-splattered bathroom.

The couple had spent the previous night together when Mr Hollingsworth had gone out to meet Armstrong.

She believed he had done this to sort something out to do with drugs, as he didn’t want Armstrong coming to his home.

The woman found Mr Hollingsworth after going round to check on him because he had failed to turn up for work at The Woodrow Wilson pub in Botchergate that afternoon.

She had to climb in through an open upstairs window as both the front and back doors were locked.

She wept as she described to the court how there was “blood everywhere” and his bed had been moved into the middle of the room and clothes and other items were left strewn around.

She first saw Armstrong lying face down in the bathroom next to Mr Hollingsworth, who was sat with his arm draped over the bath facing the sink.

She could see a “chunk” missing from his arm, the bone coming through the skin on his hand and his scalp had been “sliced off”.

She went back downstairs and outside to the garage to get her phone to call the emergency services.

When she came back in she described how Armstrong, who was bare-chested, was coming downstairs with his hands looking like they were “hanging off” and his movement was sluggish.

She asked him what he had done and said: “You’ve killed Luke.”

Armstrong insisted it wasn’t him and that “two guys had tried to cut his face off”, but he didn’t know who they were.

The woman also told the court she didn’t know Armstrong well but shehad given him a lift home once.

She said she didn’t know why he had been in the house because Mr Hollingsworth “wouldn’t have let him in”.

And she claimed Mr Hollingsworth had told her that Armstrong owed thousands of pounds to a drug dealer based in Lancaster known as Sam.

The jury also heard from two men Mr Hollingsworth had sold cannabis to.

Ewan Murphy was the last man to see him alive after he bought one-eighth of an ounce of marijuana from him. Mr Murphy said he saw a man he knew as Jamie with Mr Hollingsworth but everything seemed “normal”.

Mark Cottam had also been to Mr Hollingsworth’s home that day to buy cannabis. He described how Mr Hollingsworth had been on his own when the deal was done and that he had seemed “relaxed and happy”.

Another witness, James Bradbury, said he had given Armstrong £160 up front for an ounce of cannabis the weekend before Mr Hollingsworth’s death.

But Armstrong kept telling him he hadn’t been able to get the drugs.

Mr Bradbury said the last contact he had with Armstrong was on the morning of July 10 when he said he would have it that afternoon – but he never heard from him after that.

The trial continues.

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