Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Liverpool Echo
Liverpool Echo
Adam Everett

Boy, 14, kicked man's head 'like a football' in attack near shopping centre

A 14-year-old boy kicked a stricken man's head "like a football" during a vicious gang attack, a murder trial has heard.

The youth and fellow assailant Joseph Byrne fist-bumped after leaving Christopher Molloy lying unconscious in the street, jurors at Liverpool Crown Court were told today. The 55-year-old victim had sought refuge in a McDonald's after being accosted near to Bootle Strand shopping centre in the early hours before he was attacked by the pair and fellow defendant Jay Byrne.

All three are currently standing trial accused of murdering Mr Molloy, who died in hospital as a result of his injuries a week later. Gordon Cole KC told the jury during the prosecution's opening on Thursday that Mr Molloy had got off a bus at around 11.30pm on July 11 last year and went to the Wild Rose on Stanley Road.

READ MORE: Family 'destroyed' after 'lovely' dad killed by drunk BMW driver

Mr Molloy remained in the JD Wetherspoon pub until around 12.30am on July 12. Around the same time, the two Byrne brothers were walking in the same area with 26-year-old Jay Byrne's dog.

A confrontation between the parties then erupted in the area near to Burger King. Mr Molloy went to the McDonald's opposite and sought assistance from staff "because he was concerned as to what was happening, trying to get help".

He remained in the doorway of the fast food branch for several minutes before leaving, at which point he was chased down the road by 25-year-old Joseph Byrne, of Linacre Road in Litherland, and the teenager. A subsequent incident near to the junction with Strand Road was captured on CCTV footage, which was played to the court and described as "not a pleasant watch".

It showed the younger Byrne "landing an extremely forceful punch" with his right hand, knocking Mr Molloy to the floor. He fell backwards and "cracked his head on the pavement", rendering him unconscious.

The boy, now aged 15, was then seen repeatedly slapping him in the face as he lay helpless on the floor. Both attackers walked away in the direction of the Natwest bank, being caught on camera fist bumping as they did so.

They returned shortly afterwards alongside Jay Byrne, who kicked a still unconscious Mr Molloy to the head. The youth then delivered a second kick to the head.

Mr Cole said of this final blow: "That was a particularly ferocious kick. A kick like kicking a football hard, to an unconscious man."

In the aftermath, a patrolling police car was flagged down by a taxi driver who reported that there was a man lying unconscious in the road. Another member of the public had alerted the attentions of a passing ambulance, and it became "immediately obvious that Mr Molloy was extremely unwell".

He had a host of cuts, bruising and swelling to his face and head and began vomiting once placed in the back of the ambulance. After being rushed to the Walton Centre, he underwent emergency surgery shortly before 5am.

But Mr Molloy had suffered internal bleeding and fractures, and his life support was ultimately withdrawn. He died on July 19, 2022.

Jay Byrne, of Leyland Road in Southport, was detained at around 10.30am on July 12 close to the scene of assault. Jurors were also shown CCTV footage of his arrest, and both he and his co-accused gave no comment when interviewed by officers.

Mr Cole told the court: "We say this is clearly a case of murder. We say this was a completely unprovoked attack in which each of these defendants played a role, individually and conjoined with the others, in that joint attack."

Of the CCTV footage, the prosecutor added: "What it does show is the ferocity of the attack and the nature of the attack, and the way in which these three defendants were acting together. It reflects, we say, an intention to inflict at least really serious harm."

All three defendants have admitted manslaughter, but deny murder. The trial, before Judge Neil Flewitt KC, continues.

READ NEXT: Dad who leapt out of dock and escaped court says it 'was a moment of madness'

Police officer accused of 'abusing position for sexual purposes' to stand trial

Men beaten, burned and starved after being chained to radiators

'Predator', 25, stole from woman's home then went back to rape her

Paedophile abused girl after grooming her with Dr Pepper and Timberland boots

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.