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Liverpool Echo
Liverpool Echo
National
Abigail Nicholson & Adam Everett

First picture of man murdered by 15-year-old boy

The first picture of Christopher Molloy, beaten to death by two brothers and a 15-year-old boy in a gang attack last year, has been revealed.

The boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was found guilty of murdering Mr Molloy in an early hours gang attack near to Bootle Strand on July 12, 2022. Jay Byrne, Joseph Byrne and the boy were on trial at Liverpool Crown Court charged with murdering the 55-year-old security guard.

The two brothers were cleared of this charge by a majority on Thursday morning, after three hours and 41 minutes of deliberations, with the teen being unanimously convicted of murder by the jury. The ECHO can now show the face of the victim of this awful attack.

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All three had earlier admitted manslaughter, and will be sentenced on March 16. Jurors previously heard an initial altercation between the parties erupted near to Burger King at around 12.45am on July 12 last year after Mr Molloy 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 25-year-old Joseph Byrne, of Linacre Road in Litherland, 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 boy returned shortly afterwards alongside 26-year-old Jay Byrne, who kicked a still unconscious Mr Molloy to the head.

The youth then delivered a second kick to the head, described as a "particularly ferocious kick, like kicking a football hard". 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, 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 also alleged that Joseph Byrne had asked "do you want to see a knockout punch?" before rendering Mr Molloy unconscious.

Of the moment he kicked him on the floor, the teen said: "I didn't think. I was just copying what Jay did."

Members of the 15-year-old's family left the public gallery when the guilty verdict was delivered at Liverpool Crown Court on Thursday, January 19, and the boy slammed a door as he stormed out of the dock. Jay Byrne put his face in his hands and appeared to attempt to calm his co-defendant down, saying "chill bro".

Joseph Byrne was seen smiling as he was led back down to the cells.

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