Murder by the Knife

Lolly True crime
3 min readSep 21, 2023

In memory of Jon-Jo Highton of Preston, Lancashire

Jon-Jo Highton was 18 when he was tragically murdered in Deepdale, Preston, Lancashire

This is a little bit of a change to my usual style of writing on True Crime, but as we talk a lot about victims that were stabbed or killed by knives I feel that we need to talk about this case.

I have recently re-watched a video interview by Liquid Bullet Productionz of Southend, Essex featuring the brother of Jon-Jo Highton and it has inspired me to write this article.

Here is the link to the video, please take the time to watch it and see the way the murder of 18-year-old JonJo has affected the lives of his brother, his family and friends.

The Story

On August 23rd 2014, Jon-Jo Highton was hacked to death with a samurai sword by a group of depraved teenagers led by 19-year-old Owen Whitesmith. The reason for the killing was carried out in order to “Win back respect”.

Jon-Jo was attacked in the street after being accused of attacking the home of Whitesmith’s mother, Alison. This had stemmed from a long-standing drugs war which had resulted in Jon-Jo having been attacked once before with a machete, he had survived that attack.

The first attack on Jon-Jo Highton had been in June 2013 after local youths from an area of Preston called Avenham vowed to get revenge due to an attack on a drug dealer.

The teenager was confronted by a gang of eight young males and repeatedly slashed and stabbed with an axe, a sword and a machete, his body was badly mutilated and he was almost decapitated. A severe blow to the jugular vein caused the teenager’s life to be brought to an abrupt end.

Paramedics attended the scene of the attack but despite their best efforts, Jon-Jo was pronounced dead.

The scene of the dreadful murder with the police wite tent covering the site for forensic investigation

Jon-Jo, a dad to one child had spent the evening in a local pub drinking and playing pool, when he began his walk home he was set upon by the gang. The ring leader of the gang, Owen Whitesmith fled the scene and was given a false alibi by his mother Alison Threlfall of Chorley, Lancashire.

Threlfall was later convicted and was given a two-year prison sentence for perverting the course of justice. She was also given a further three months for burglary, not thought to be related to the gang’s killings.

Alison Threlfall, gave a false alibi to protect her son

This kind of murder is becoming all too commonplace and the consequences of youths carrying knives are obvious. Sadly a lot of these knife killings seem to stem from drug-related crimes and that is just tragic.

I will leave it there and let you absord the tragedy of this and so many similar stories.

Until next time

Love, Light and Peace



Lolly True crime

Lolly’s True Crime World cold case review specialists, researchers, and Unsolved crime investigation is our passion. Buy me a coffee