A much-loved son shot in his kitchen had been chased by machete-wielding thugs in the months before he was killed, a court was told.

Michael Rainsford said his son, also called Michael, was "white as a ghost" when he escaped into his Litherland home after fleeing two men on a motorbike.

The incident took place during a period in which the 20-year-old appeared to become increasingly worried about the area in which he lived.

Jurors in the trial of two brothers accused of killing Michael junior today watched an interview his dad gave to police in the aftermath of his son's death last April.

He said he was close to 'Mikey', who was "a quiet young man" with a lot of friends.

But he described his concerns as Michael appeared to become involved in "low level" cannabis dealing. While he never saw drugs in the home, or his son with much money, he had noticed the smell of the Class B drug on him from time to time.

Describing efforts to help him find a job, he said there were difficulties because his son "wasn’t in a gang, but was perceived to be in a gang because of where he lived”.

The court has heard claims the murder suspects, Michael and James Foy, were "associated" with a gang called the Linacre Young Guns that feuded with a rival group named the Kirkstone Riot Squad.

Michael senior said he was vaguely aware of a dispute between gangs in the South Sefton area, but did not know who was involved.

Asked which group his son would be "perceived" to have links to, he believed it was called something along the lines of the "Kirkies".

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The machete incident started when Michael, described as " a protective older brother " by Josh Rainsford, was standing with friends outside shops on Kirkstone Road North, close to the family's Harrington Road home.

Both Michael senior and Josh said they had been told the group was approached by two men on a motorbike and, while some ran into flats above the shops, Michael junior fled on his push bike but was chased to his home.

A lamp post covered in tributes for Michael Rainsford, on Harrington Road

When Michael junior later expressed concerns about where they lived, his dad recalled: “I told him if you are worried about the people you are hanging around with, you don’t have to disappear, just do it in baby steps, gradually.”

In the months before the shooting, the dad described his son as becoming more settled.

Asked whether he believed his son had heeded his advice, he told police he thought Michael junior was benefiting from the influence of his girlfriend, who he was spending more and more time with.

He said: “From my point of view, it all seemed to be tailing off.”

Michael Foy, 22, and James Foy, 19, both of Rossini Street in Seaforth, deny murder, possession of a prohibited firearm and possession of ammunition without a certificate.

James also denies a separate allegation of possession of a prohibite firearm in connection with an incident in Bootle in 2019.

Their mum, Joyce Smith, 46 and of Rossini Street, Andrea Saunderson, 48 and also of Rossini Street, and the brothers' uncle, Craig Johnson, 39 and of Willard Drive in Bootle, each deny perverting the course of justice.

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