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Fatal stabbing unfolds amidst a night out: Note declares ‘it was me or him’

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James Preston, 21, claims Self-defence in the trial for the killing of Joe Holland – disturbing details emerge at Liverpool crown court

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 A chilling scene unfolded in Huyton on June 8, 2023, as Joe Holland, 25, suffered 11 fatal stab wounds, with a note left at the crime scene cryptically stating, “it was me or him.” James Preston, 21, has admitted to inflicting the wounds but asserts self-defence as the trial commenced at Liverpool Crown Court.

Lead counsel for the prosecution, Mark Ford, KC, revealed that the two men were part of a group of friends who enjoyed a meal at Jumbo Chinese restaurant on Princess Drive, Dovecot, on June 7, followed by drinks at the Deysbrook Pub, West Derby. The night took a tragic turn when Holland was fatally stabbed during a frenzied attack, allegedly carried out by Preston.

“The meal was the last thing that one of those young men, Joseph Holland, or Joe Holland as he was known, would ever eat. That’s because within a few hours he would be stabbed to death by the defendant in this case, James Preston,” explained Ford.

Holland’s lifeless body was discovered the next day by police officers at Preston’s parents’ house on Huyton House Road, Fincham, locked in the bathroom, surrounded by a pool of blood. The men had consumed alcohol and drugs during the night, contributing to the tragic events.

Footage from a Ring doorbell camera and CCTV revealed that an altercation occurred, prompting Sean Rudd to leave the premises after being punched and verbally attacked by Preston. The incident escalated when Darren Mulholland, Preston’s half-brother and friend of both men, attempted to intervene, expressing concern for Joe Holland’s safety.

The jury heard that by 1:30 am, both Preston and Holland’s phones were seemingly switched off. Preston, caught on a Ring doorbell camera, left the property at 5:30 am carrying a holdall bag. He later boarded a train to London but changed route at Runcorn station, heading to Birmingham.

As the trial unfolds, disturbing details continue to emerge, shedding light on the events leading up to Joe Holland’s tragic death.

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