Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Liverpool Echo
Liverpool Echo
Dan Haygarth & Gemma Bradley

Killer brothers laugh and grin as judge jails them for manslaughter

Two brothers laughed and grinned as a judge sentenced them for manslaughter.

Jay Byrne, 26, of Leyland Road in Southport and Joseph Byrne, 25, of no fixed abode, were sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court on Thursday (March 16). They pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Christopher Molloy, although both were cleared of murder after a trial.

A teenage boy, who can't be named for legal reasons, was also sentenced. He was convicted of murder by the jury after three hours and 41 minutes of deliberation.

READ MORE: Thomas Cashman's home had electricity disconnected and CCTV recorder 'missing' after Olivia shot

A court heard the two men and a 15-year-old boy beat security guard Mr Molloy to death in an early hours gang attack near to Bootle Strand, at around 12.45am on July 12, last year.

Mr Molloy was accused of "touching" the teenage defendant's girlfriend and 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 before walking away, at which point he was chased by Joseph Byrne and the then 14-year-old. CCTV footage showed the younger Byrne landing a punch that knocked Mr Molloy to the floor unconscious.

He "cracked his head on the pavement" but the teen 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 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".

The victim was taken to hospital but had suffered internal bleeding and fractures, and his life support was ultimately withdrawn.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 Thursday, Judge Neil Flewitt KC sentenced the 15-year-old boy to life with a minimum of eight years for murder, and will be on a life licence. The judge 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. I understand he has expressed remorse to the probation service.

“I accept that is what he has said but I regret to say I did not see any indication of it during the trial, but I accept that may be because of his age and the lack of understanding of his actions.”

He concluded: “I have considered everything that has been said by prosecution counsel and your legal team, and I have decided that the shortest period of time that you must stay in custody is eight years. That is called a minimum term.”

After the 15-year-old was sentenced, Judge Flewitt turned his attention to the Byrne brothers. He had to pause proceedings and address their barristers as the two defendants laughed and grinned during the sentencing remarks.

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

Joseph Byrne told his barrister: “He is chatting s**t, he’s just chatting s**t. He knows he’s chatting s**t.”

Judge Flewitt said: “If this continues I will have them taken downstairs. I will sentence in their absence and they will not hear what I have to say.”

Once proceedings were able to continue, the brothers were sentenced.

For inflicting grievous bodily harm against John McLoughlin, Joseph Byrne was given an 18 month sentence, and for inflicting actual bodily harm against Kellsey Freeman, he received a consecutive sentence of 27 months imprisonment.

For the manslaughter of Christopher Molloy, Joseph Byrne was given a custodial sentence of nine years and nine months, plus an extended licence of four years, also to be served consecutively.

For the manslaughter of Christopher Molloy, Jay Byrne was sentenced to 10 and a half years in prison. When escorted out of the dock, Byrne said to the Judge: “Keep your 10% you fat d***head”, referring to the discount he received on his sentence for his guilty plea.


Thomas Cashman murder trial resumes as man accused of shooting schoolgirl Olivia Pratt-Korbel

Updates as brothers and schoolboy who beat security guard to death are sentenced

Lorraine Kelly replaced by Dr Hilary as she begs for help over her health

Lost Liverpool nightclub where 'nobody really cared'

Aldi's 'practical' £5 storage boxes shoppers say are 'good value for money'

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.