Two men charged with murder of ‘kind and loving’ woman shot dead in her back garden

Two men have been charged with the murder of a ”kind and loving” woman shot in her back garden last summer.

Ashley Dale, 28, was found with a gunshot wound at her home in Old Swan, Liverpool shortly before 1am on August 21. She was taken to hospital but later died.

On Tuesday Merseyside Police said James Witham, 40, of Ashbury Road, Huyton and Joseph Peers, 28, of Woodlands Road, Roby, had been charged with murder and possession of a firearm with intent.

Ms Dale’s family said their lives had been ‘torn apart’ by her killing (PA Media)
Ms Dale’s family said their lives had been ‘torn apart’ by her killing (PA Media)

They are due to appear at Wirral adult remand court on Tuesday.

A 25-year-old man from St Helens who has been arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender remains in custody.

The environmental health officer for Knowsley Council is not believed to have been the intended target of the killing, which was one of three fatal shootings in Liverpool within a week including that of nine-year-old Olivia Pratt-Korbel.

In the run up to Christmas, Ms Dale’s family issued a statement about the devastating impact her death has had on them.

“Ashley’s family would like to emphasise the devastating effects gun crime has had on our family,” they said.

“On what would have been Ashley’s 29th birthday, her loss is beyond words, the family have been torn apart and life can never be ‘normal’ again.

Ms Dale was “loving and kind” her family said (PA)
Ms Dale was “loving and kind” her family said (PA)

“Her birthday being so close to Christmas made this time of year so special, but without her Christmas is going to be unbearable. Life has become a living nightmare for Ashley’s parents, siblings and family.

“Her loving, kind and articulate nature showed through with the number of friends she had. We couldn’t have been more proud of Ashley. A huge hole has been left, life will never be the same again.

Merseyside Police have reissued their ongoing appeal for anyone with information on Ms Dale’s death to come forward.

A spokesperson said: “At around 12.40am on Sunday, 21 August 2022, officers were called to an address in Leinster Road following reports of concern for a woman at the property.

“Emergency services attended and found Ashley in the rear garden with a gunshot wound to her body. She was taken to hospital but sadly died a short time later.

“If you haven’t already come forward with information, please pass this directly to our investigation team through our online portal: Public Portal ( This will make sure that your information is received and acted on as quickly as possible by detectives.

Anyone with information can contact police on social media MerPolCC or call 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 quoting reference 22000615873.