Michael Haigh accused of murdering dad-of-two in hit and run attack after argument
31 March 2015
By Neil Docking
Haigh admits driving a Jeep which struck Ryan Kennedy and forced him into a wall in Gable View, Norris Green, but denies his murder
A badger-baiter went on trial accused of murdering a dad-of-two in a hit and run attack after arguing over a hunting dog.
Michael Haigh, 25, admits being the driver of a Jeep Cherokee which struck Ryan Kennedy and forced him into a wall in Gable View, Norris Green.
He claims he hit his 24-year-old “best mate” by accident and has admitted manslaughter.
But prosecutors told Liverpool Crown Court he “deliberately drove” the car at his friend and an argument overheard by a witness may have “ultimately led to Mr Kennedy’s untimely death”.
Nigel Power, QC, prosecuting, said: “The argument was very heated and sounded serious.
“She heard the defendant call Mr Kennedy a “b***-end”. Mr Kennedy took up the argument with a man in the passenger seat of the car, saying ‘I’m not frightened of you’.”
She said Haigh got in the car and drove it at speed towards Mr Kennedy – prompting her to call 999.
Mr Power said: “She saw that the wall had been destroyed and Mr Kennedy was among the rubble.
“He was saying ‘help me, help me, I want my phone’ and she handed it to him.”
The court was played a recording of a further 999 call made by the woman, when Mr Kennedy could be heard crying for help.
Paramedics attended the scene and rushed him to Aintree Hospital, but he could not be saved.
His injuries included multiple broken ribs, bruising to the heart, cuts to his internal organs and a dislocated left shoulder.
The court heard he had two children with his partner and left her home on November 1 to go to his parents’ house.
He knew Haigh and the passenger in the car, Reece Welsh, as Mr Kennedy and Welsh were jailed for “badger baiting” in June and banned for life from owning, keeping or transporting dogs.
The Jeep was bought on October 27 in Litherland by someone who gave a false name. Haigh was present and insured himself to drive the car.
On November 1, Mr Kennedy rang Haigh at around 10am.
The court heard Haigh and Welsh were looking for a vet to treat an injured Jack Russell called Jake and Welsh tried to call a vet using a false name.
Welsh called Mr Kennedy’s partner and by 2pm the Jeep was near his parents’ home, ahead of the incident at 2.10pm.
The Jeep was last seen at 1am the next day on Walton Hall Avenue.
Mr Power said: “His phone has never been recovered. More to the point, the car has never been recovered.
“The defendant simply would not help the police to locate it.”
Mr Power said a signal sent to the car’s tracker device failed, adding: “Reasons for non-activation include deliberately removing or tampering with a device.”
Haigh handed himself into police eight days later and told officers the crash was “just an accident”.
He said he “goes out with the dogs for badgers and the dog in the back of his car was smashed”, he added Mr Kennedy was his “best mate” and he went to see him to get the number for a vet.
Mr Power said: “He said they exchanged friendly insults and then Mr Kennedy approached the car. He said ‘I’ve like jerked it to scare him… and it just went too far’.
“He said he panicked and drove away.”
Haigh told police that after the crash he “just laid low” and did not know where the car was.
He said he had been too scared to contact Mr Kennedy’s family and would not say where the injured dog was, adding his phone had “just gone”.
Haigh said there were no raised voices, he was not aggressive and did not argue with his friend.
Haigh, of Buttermere Crescent in Rainford, denies murder.
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