[A] woman has today (Tuesday 17 May) been sentenced for perverting the course of justice after lying to police about the whereabouts of her son on the night of the murder of Preston man Jon-Jo Highton.
Allison Threlfall, 44, of Fell View, Chorley, admitted the offence at a previous hearing and today she was jailed for 27 months for providing the false information, along with an unrelated burglary.
Threlfall’s son, Owen Whitesmith, 20, was convicted of Jon-Jo’s murder and sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum tariff of 27 years last June.
Speaking after today’s sentencing, Detective Superintendent Eddie Thistlethwaite who lead the Jon-Jo murder enquiry said: “Today’s sentence sends a clear message that it is criminally and morally reprehensible to lie to police during our investigations and anyone who does so will be brought to justice.
“My thoughts are with Jon-Jo’s family and friends today after this final court result related to the investigation. The Highton family have lost a son, brother and father and despite that, they have always behaved with great dignity, particularly during the four month trial they endured last year.
“Allison Threlfall only pleaded guilty just prior to a potential trial. Her actions in delaying such a plea again caused undue stress to the Highton family.”
John-Jo, 18, was killed on the evening of Saturday 23 August 2014 on St Stephen’s Road, Preston. He had been stabbed and died as a result of a wound to his neck caused by a bladed weapon.
Last year, six men were convicted of the murder of Jon-Jo and seven other people later pleaded guilty to related offences, including attempting to cause grievous bodily harm, assisting offenders and attempting to pervert the course of justice. The overall sentence total is around 180 years for all who were involved.
Det Supt Thistlethwaite added: “I’d like to take the opportunity to remind youngsters involved in or linked with gangs, that there is an alternative route to ending up behind bars and a needless loss of life. I would urge anyone concerned about a loved one, or caught up with the wrong crowd themselves, to get in touch with us. Make sure it is not too late for you.
“You can speak, in confidence with officers from our Early Action Teams via 101 who specialise in dealing with issues of this nature and will listen to your call and help direct you to the right services.”