A MURDERER and his accomplice made their get away in a van they had used to burgle a Westhoughton business a day earlier.

On December 29, 2018 David Connor smashed 21-year-old Billy Livesley over the head with a crowbar in a car park at Bickershaw Lane, Wigan.

Connor fled the scene in a Ford Transit Connect van being driven by Jimmy Price, who later abandoned it away from the immediate area.

In July last year Connor, aged 27, was jailed for life for the murder. Price, aged 23, is currently service a 34 month prison sentence for perverting the course of justice and other unrelated offences.

Bolton Crown Court was told that the day before the murder Connor and Price were involved in burgling Ropetech Access Solutions’ Wigan Road, Westhoughton premises, using the same van.

Price, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to the burglary and criminal damaged and the Honorary Recorder of Bolton was told that Connor had also admitted his part in the burglary but, as he is already serving a life prison sentence, it was not in the public interest to charge him with the crime.

Brian Berlyne, prosecuting, told how Ropetech boss, Stefan Young had received a call from another business on December 28 to advise him that there had been a break-in at his yard.

“There was a large hole in the roof of the building,” said Mr Berlyne who added that the intruders had piled up wooden pallets and used them to climb onto the fibreglass roof.

Several boxes of power tools, including grinders and drills, worth a total of £20,000 were taken.

Repairs to the building cost almost £4,500 and in a victim statement, Mr Young told how he had to spend further sums on increasing security.

The court heard that a woman living nearby had spotted someone running through the area at 10.15pm, putting a box on the ground and a van reversing towards it.

“CCTV showed four people carrying items towards a white van – the same van suspected of being used the day after this incident, in an offence of murder, said Mr Berlyne.

The stolen tools were transferred to a second van. Both vehicles were found by police and almost all the power tools were recovered.

Brendan O’Leary, defending, stressed that, as Price had admitted his part in the burglary prior to the murder trial and so could have been sentenced for it in July last year at the same time as he was jailed for perverting the course of justice.

“There is simply no justification for the fact that this offence was not dealt with,” said Mr O’Leary.

Price, of no fixed address, is due to be released from his current sentence in September.

The Honorary Recorder of Bolton, Judge Martin Walsh sentenced Price to 16 months in prison for the burglary to run concurrently with the sentence he is already serving.

“There doesn’t appear to be any acceptable reason why it has taken until today’s date for you to be dealt with for this burglary,” he told Price.