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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Ann Dixon & Benedict Tetzlaff-Deas & Gemma Bradley

Laughing brothers and schoolboy, 15, who beat security guard to death jailed

A 15-year-old schoolboy has been jailed along with two brothers after they beat a security guard to death.

Security guard Christopher Molloy was brutally attacked outside Bootle Strand in Merseyside in July last year.

Liverpool Crown Court heard the 55-year-old was set upon by brothers Jay and Joseph Byrne before the fatal blow was dealt by a 15-year-old, who left him in a critical condition.

Joseph Byrne and his older sibling Jay had pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Mr Molloy, although both were cleared of murder. The pair showed no remorse for their crimes however, laughing today as a judge passed sentence on them.

A 15-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was convicted of murdering the 55-year-old by a jury after kicking him in the head as he lay unconscious.

Joseph Byrne has been sentenced over the manslaughter of Mr Molloy (Liverpool Echo)
Jay Byrne also pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of the 55-year-old security guard (Liverpool Echo)

On Thursday the youth was sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court to serve an eight year minimum term of a life sentence.

Judge Flewitt said: “I accept that he didn’t intend to kill Christopher Molloy, involvement was not pre-meditated in the sense the assault was not planned in advance.

“I also accept that the youth was under some pressure from his peers and the adults present to show that he could stand up for and protect his girlfriend.”

Jay Byrne, from Litherland, additionally admitted inflicting grievous bodily harm against John McLoughlin on April 9 last year in separate attack.

He also pleaded guilty to assaulting Kellsey Freeman occasioning actual bodily harm, a count which relates to an incident on Waine Street in St Helens on July 10 2022 - two days before the attack on Mr Molloy.

Jay Byrne was given an 18 month sentence for the attack on McLoughlin and a consecutive sentence of 27 months imprisonment for inflicting actual bodily harm against Kellsey Freeman.

For his role in the killing of security Christopher Molloy, he was given a custodial sentence of nine years and nine months, plus an extended license of four years, also to be served consecutively.

Jay Byrne was sentenced to 10 and a half years imprisonment, and swore at the judge as he was taken from the dock.

At one point, the judge was forced to pause proceedings and address the brothers’ defence barristers as the two men laughed and grinned during sentencing remarks.

He said: “The pair of them are finding this amusing. I am not finding it amusing.”

Christopher Molloy 'cracked his head on the pavement' in the attack, rendering him unconscious (Facebook)

During a trial last month, jurors heard that an initial altercation between the parties erupted near to Burger King in Bootle at around 12.45am on July 12 last year after the deceased was accused of "touching" the teenage defendant's girlfriend.

Jay Byrne, of Leyland Road in Southport, was said to have either punched or pushed the stranger, who then fled to the McDonald's opposite and sought assistance from staff "because he was concerned as to what was happening, trying to get help".

The victim remained in the doorway of the fast food branch for several minutes before walking away, at which point he was chased by Joseph Byrne and the then 14-year-old.

A second confrontation near to the junction of Stanley Road and Strand Road was captured on CCTV footage which was played to the court. 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 juvenile was then seen repeatedly slapping him in the face, a total of eight times, 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. The now 15-year-old boy returned shortly afterwards alongside 26-year-old Jay Byrne, who kicked a still unconscious Mr Molloy to the head.

A 15-year-old boy was sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court to serve an eight year minimum term of a life sentence for murder (Liverpool Echo)

The youth then delivered a second kick to the head, described as a "particularly ferocious kick, like kicking a football hard". 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, a week after the assault.

Joseph Byrne said on the stand that he had given Mr Molloy "a little slap to teach him a lesson" after he was told that he had been "grabbing the a***" of the teen's girlfriend.

But the killer appeared to become angry with the youngster while under cross-examination - at one point turning to him and saying "he done it and he knows he did" - before refusing to answer any further questions from the prosecution.

Jay Byrne did not give evidence to the trial, but the boy said from the witness box that he had been imitating a scene from 1995 comedy film Friday - namely when the character played by Chris Tucker shouts "you got knocked the f*** out".

He alleged that Joseph Byrne had asked "do you want to see a knockout punch?" before rendering Mr Molloy unconscious.

Appearing before Liverpool Crown Court on Monday via video link to HMP Altcourse, Joseph Byrne pleaded guilty to further charges in relation two separate incidents.

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