Blood found on trainers shows Rotherham murder victim was kicked as he lay injured and bleeding on the ground, court told

Craig Preston's body was found near to the Woodhead Pass on the morning of August 22, 2016.
Craig Preston's body was found near to the Woodhead Pass on the morning of August 22, 2016.

Spots of blood found on trainers allegedly worn by two of the people accused of murdering a Rotherham man show they kicked him while he was on the ground, injured and bleeding, a court heard.

The evidence submitted to Sheffield Crown Court this morning was taken from smatterings of Craig Preston’s blood found on trainers the prosecution say were worn by Leonie Mason, 23, and Shiraz Bashir, 41, during a fatal attack on the 34-year-old in a lay-by near to Town Lane, Rotherham just after midnight on August 22, 2016.

Forensics expert Laura Lewis told the court she had come to the conclusion that Mr Preston was on the ground, injured and already bleeding when they kicked him due to the positioning of the specks of blood on the trainers worn by Mason and Bashir, both of Holme Park Court, Huddersfield.

The pair are accused of playing equal roles in the murder of Mr Preston, of Wath-upon-Dearne, along with three 15-year-old boys who cannot be named for legal reasons.

Evidence provided to the court concerning one of the teen defendants - Boy A - showed traces of Mr Preston's blood were also found on trainers he is alleged to have been wearing during the attack.

Ms Lewis told the court that the specks of blood found on Boy A's trainers were more 'fine' than those found on Mason's and Bashir's; and that it appeared they also arrived on the trainers from below - however there was no evidence present on his trainers to suggest he had 'made contact with Mr Preston when he was bleeding'.

However Ms Lewis said she could not say whether Boy A had kicked Mr Preston before he began to bleed.

Boy A's defence barrister, Aftab Jafferjee QC asked Ms Lewis: "If those trainers had kicked or stamped on a bleeding face, it would have been seen on these trainers - meaning the evidence simply cannot support the suggestion this happened?"

Ms Lewis responded: "In those circumstances, no."

Spots of blood found in the boot of a Vauxhall Astra used by Mason and Mr Preston suggest Mr Preston was 'still alive' by the time he was placed there, Ms Lewis confirmed to the court this morning.

Small traces of Mr Preston's blood were also found a Toyota Celica owned by Bashir, which had the personalised number plate H4 CUM, the court was told.

The court was due to hear forensics evidence on the clothing worn by Boy B and Boy C later today.

Mr Preston's body was found near to the Woodhead Pass by dog walkers on the morning of August 22.

It is alleged that his body was taken there in the Vauxhall Astra. The court has not yet heard which of the defendants are alleged to have assisted in the disposal of Mr Preston's body.

Sheffield Crown Court was previously told that Mason had been Mr Preston's girlfriend for around six to seven years by the time she struck up a sexual relationship with Bashir early last year.

The Crown say that at the height of their romance both Bashir and Mason came to want to 'do him in' and by August last year they had recruited the three teenage boys to assist them in their murderous plan.

Prosecutor Daffyd Enoch has also identified a fourth teenage boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, the Crown say could also have been involved in the murder of Mr Preston.

All five defendants deny one count of murder. The trial continues.