A PUB landlord told a jury he believed a man accused of murder had threatened him with a gun just days earlier.

David Hughes, of the Olive Grove at Broxton, was a witness at Liverpool Crown Court where Frodsham man Scott Davidson, 23, and his girlfriend Rachael Horton, 19, deny murdering Martin Ithell of Great Boughton, Chester, on Friday, March 11.

The prosecution alleges the former lovers, who had lived together in Hawthorne Road, Frodsham, plotted to kill Mr Ithell because they couldn’t pay the £26,000 they owed him and he was ratcheting up the pressure.

Mr Hughes told the court Davidson came to his pub just three days before the alleged murder saying he had come to collect a £5,000 debt while gesturing he had a gun down his trousers – although no weapon was ever seen.

Mr Hughes, who was behind the bar with Davidson on the other side, showed the jury what he meant by putting his hand under the waistband of his trousers.

He recalled: “He was quite agitated and aggressive and asking for the money as if to say I’ve got a gun. I didn’t see a gun but that’s what the body language told me.”

The prosecution believes the weapon was an imitation Beretta hand gun later found in a ‘robber’s kit’ at the defendants’ home.

Explaining the background, Mr Hughes confirmed he had agreed to pay £5,000 to a Rob Hughes following a business dispute.

However, when Davidson turned up he had paid off some of the debt and was not prepared to deal with a third party so the defendant left empty-handed.

The prosecution says Davidson had earlier approached Rob Hughes, who employed him as a doorman in Chester, for a loan. Mr Hughes had turned him down but said he could collect £4,000 owed by David Hughes which he could treat as a loan. However, he was said to be ‘not best pleased’ on discovering the manner of the approach.

The trial continues.