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Liverpool Echo
Liverpool Echo
National
Gemma Bradley

Killer brothers and schoolboy who beat security guard to death to be sentenced

Two men and a 15-year-old boy are to be sentenced today after beating a security guard to death.

Jay Byrne, of Leyland Road in Southport, Joseph Byrne of Linacre Road in Litherland, and the teenager who cannot be named for legal reasons will appear at Liverpool Crown Court today, Thursday. Joseph Byrne and his older sibling Jay Byrne previously pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Christopher Molloy, although both were cleared of murder after a trial, after beating the security guard to death in an early hours gang attack near to Bootle Strand.

The teenager was unanimously convicted of murder by the jury after three hours and 41 minutes of deliberations. 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.

READ MORE: Killer ranted 'you know it's not murder' at police

Jay Byrne was said to have either punched or pushed the stranger, who then fled to the McDonald's opposite and sought assistance from staff. 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 and the then 14-year-old.

A second confrontation near to the junction of Stanley Road and Strand Road was captured on CCTV footage and showed the younger Byrne "landing an extremely forceful punch" with his right hand. This knocked Mr Molloy to the floor and 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".

Jay Byrne admitted the manslaughter of Christopher Molloy (Merseyside Police)

The victim was taken to hospital but had suffered internal bleeding and fractures, and his life support was ultimately withdrawn. He died on July 19, 2022, a week after the assault.

On a later occasion, Joseph Byrne pleaded guilty to further charges in relation to two separate incidents. He admitted inflicting grievous bodily harm against John McLoughlin on April 9 last year and to assaulting Kellsey Freeman occasioning actual bodily harm on Waine Street in St Helens on July 10 2022, only two days before he fatally beat Mr Molloy.

After being told the verdict, the teenager shouted "you fat, ugly p****" to Judge Neil Flewitt KC before storming out of the dock. Jay Byrne appeared concerned for the teen, putting his head in his hands when the verdict was delivered and telling him "chill bro".

Joseph Byrne was seen smiling as he was led to the cells. All three defendants will appear today to be sentenced in connection with all matters.

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