Jail warning for woman who helped fugitive knife-killer

A woman has admitted taking cash and a mobile phone to Holland to help an on-the-run killer who stabbed a teenager during a mass brawl at a boxing event.

Melisa Birkinshaw was told she is "extremely likely" to be jailed for perverting the course of justice after Tyrone Andrew stabbed Reagan Asbury in the neck outside Walsall Town Hall in October 2017.

Andrew, of St Helen's Street, Derby, fled to Amsterdam and then Spain but was jailed for 14 years in August last year after being found guilty of manslaughter.

Birkinshaw, of Cavendish Court, Derby, pleaded guilty at Birmingham Crown Court on Monday and was bailed until a sentencing hearing on July 12.

The 22-year-old admitted doing acts intending to pervert the course of justice between October and December 2017 by permitting her bank account to receive cash intended for Andrew, and giving money and a phone to him in Holland.

Reagan Asbury death
Police handout photo of boxing fan Tyrone Andrew, who was cleared of murder at Birmingham Crown Court last year but found guilty of manslaughter. (Credit: West Midlands Police/PA)

Prosecutor Antonie Muller did not open the facts of the case but told Judge Simon Drew QC that two other defendants had already been jailed for perverting the course of justice.

Mr Muller said of Birkinshaw: "Once Andrew had made his quick escape to Amsterdam, she provided him with a phone and a lot of cash, permitting his further movement thereafter."

Birkinshaw was frightened of Andrew and had "got herself way out of her depth" when she agreed to help him, defence lawyer William Bennett told the court.

Adjourning the case, Judge Drew told Birkinshaw: "I shall order the preparation of a pre-sentence report.

"I do so for two principal reasons. The first is you have no previous convictions, and secondly the court needs to consider your background and circumstances in general.

"A custodial sentence is extremely likely but I shall make a final decision on July 12."

A trial which ended last summer was told Reagan, aged 19, was stabbed after violence flared following a youth world title fight involving Derby-based Myron Mills and Walsall fighter Luke Paddock.

During the disorder, described by witnesses as like a scene from a Wild West film, chairs and tables were thrown inside Walsall Town Hall.

CCTV footage played to Andrew's murder trial showed him running up behind Reagan and stabbing him.

Jurors acquitted the 22-year-old of murder after deciding he had not intended really serious harm when he severed an artery in Reagan's neck.

Passing sentence last August, Judge Drew said the stabbing of Reagan was a "deliberate and focused" blow aimed at an obviously unarmed victim.

The judge added that Mr Asbury, from Pelsall, West Midlands, was also facing away from Andrew, who claimed to have lashed out in self-defence while fearing for his life.

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