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Monday, 06 July 2015

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Barrow man and murder accused were best friends who fell out over drug money loan - court

A MURDER accused and his alleged victim had been so close they were “like brothers”, a court heard.

Luke Hollingsworth.

But the relationship between Jamie Armstrong and Luke Hollingsworth was said to have deteriorated over debt and money.

Barrow-born 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 men demanding money and drugs.

On the third day of Armstrong’s murder trial at Carlisle Crown Court,

Aaron Duncan, who knew both men, took to the witness box. He said he met Armstrong through Mr Hollingsworth.

“I actually thought they were brothers when I first met them because they were good friends at first,” said Mr Duncan.

“It was just the way they acted, like the bond they had.”

Brian Cummings QC, prosecuting, asked him: “Did that change?”

Duncan replied: “Yes it did.”

The court heard there was a good friendship initially between Armstrong and Hollingsworth. Both were involved with cannabis and the sale of the drug.

Hollingsworth then had problems, including cash being stolen and a safe going missing.

Defence barrister Michael Hayton QC said Hollingsworth had got himself into trouble with his supplier and Armstrong helped him out.

But he added there was a big “fall out” when Mr Hollingsworth asked Armstrong to lend him some money as Hollingsworth already owed him cash.

Duncan was asked if Mr Hollingsworth had said anything about the scale of Armstrong’s involvement in cannabis dealing. Duncan told the court: “Near the end of it Jamie’s scale was big.I told Jamie numerous times: slow down you’re going to get hurt, you’re doing it too big.”

Jamie Mease-Christian also gave evidence. He said he was Mr Hollingsworth’s best friend and had met him when the two lived in Barrow.

He said he met people Mr Hollingsworth knew when he came to visit him in Carlisle, including Armstrong.

“When I first met them they seemed friends,” he added.

Mr Mease-Christian told the court when Armstrong left their company Mr Hollingsworth “went off on one”.

Mr Hollingsworth was found dead at his home after he failed to turn up to work at the Woodrow Wilson pub in Botchergate, Carlisle.

The trial continues.


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