A father accused of shooting dead a man on his doorstep placed the murder weapon into his 14-year-old son’s hands for him to take the blame, jurors have been told.
Preston Crown Court heard 50-year-old Matthew Moseley, who denies murder, “sought to manipulate” his son Thomas into saying he was the one that pulled the trigger and killed Lee Holt outside their family home.
The 32-year-old victim was shot with a Beretta semi-automatic shotgun on 25 October last year.
He later died in hospital from a single gunshot wound to the chest.
The father-of-two had turned up at the defendant’s home in Oswaldtwistle, near Accrington in Lancashire, over an ongoing dispute between his partner Kate Phelan’s son Wesley Metcalfe, also aged 14, and Thomas.
The row had flared up on social media with a suggestion they might meet for a fight.
Mr Holt and Ms Phelan were seen shouting and banging on the window’s of the defendant’s house.
After the shooting, it is alleged Moseley immediately handed the weapon to his son who was inside the house and told him in the hallway: “Tell them you have done it because you can’t get done for it.”
The court heard Thomas saw his father taking a shotgun from a cabinet next to the porch and load it with three cartridges. He asked his father what he was doing and was told to call the police.
He dialled 999 and a sound was heard about 10 seconds into the call, which the prosecution suggested was the firing of the gun.
Mr O’Sullivan said: “It is inherently unlikely, is it not, that Thomas can put the receiver down, hand it to someone, pick up the gun and fire it on the doorstep in all that time.”
The jury heard Thomas told police he had shot Mr Holt and he was arrested.
When Matthew Moseley was arrested he said he had heard the shotgun go off but did not know who had fired it.
Two days after the shooting, police bugged the vehicle the father and son were being driven to court in.
Mr O’Sullivan said the father “can be heard telling Thomas that he is a minor and cannot go to jail”.
The prosecutor continued: “He went on to say to Thomas, ‘self-defence for you, you didn’t know what you were doing. Me, different ball game’.”
The court heard that after he was charged with murder the defendant made a number of phone calls in prison which were recorded, including one to his wife Julia, during which he told her: “I weren’t even f****** aiming. I just picked it up and bang.”
In a separate call to Thomas, he said: “They are going for life. You do realise that? They did explain that to you? I will never see you again. I will never, ever get out… because they coerced you into changing your statement.”
Mr O’Sullivan told the jury: “The police did not coerce Thomas into anything… the prosecution say in that call Matthew Moseley was trying to manipulate his son, deploying what can only be called emotional blackmail, in order for his son to take the blame for the death of Lee Holt.”
The trial continues.
(c) Sky News 2018: Father handed gun to 14-year-old son to take blame for murder, court told