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Liverpool Echo
Liverpool Echo
Adam Everett & Patrick Edrich

Man tells teen killer to 'chill bro' after explosive insult to judge

A killer told his teenage co-defendant found guilty of murder to "chill bro" after an explosive insult aimed at the judge.

The 15-year-old youth, who cannot be named for legal reasons, beat security guard Christopher Molloy to death in an early hours attack with two brothers. Jay Byrne, Joseph Byrne and the teenager have been on trial at Liverpool Crown Court charged with murdering the 55-year-old near Bootle Strand.

The two brothers were cleared of this charge by a majority this morning, Thursday, January 19 after three hours and 41 minutes of deliberations. But the teenager was unanimously convicted of murder by the jury. All three had earlier admitted manslaughter.

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Members of the 15-year-old's family left the public gallery when the verdict was delivered - and the boy reacted angrily towards the judge. The boy shouted "you fat, ugly p****" as he was convicted of murder, slamming a door as he stormed out the dock.

Co-defendant Jay Byrne put his face in his hands before appearing to attempt to calm the teenager down, saying "chill bro". Joseph Byrne was seen smiling as he was led back down to the cells.

Jurors previously heard an initial altercation between the parties erupted near Burger King in the early hours of July 12 last year after Mr Molloy was accused of "touching" the teenager 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".

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

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.

The younger Byrne was seen to land an "extremely forceful punch" with his right hand knocking Mr Molloy to the floor. He fell back and "cracked his head on the pavement" rendering him unconscious. The juvenile was seen repeatedly slapping his face, a total of eight times, as he lay on the floor. The Byrne brothers were caught on camera fist bumping as they walked away in the direction of NatWest.

But the boy returned with the older Byrne, 26, who kicked Mr Molloy in the head. The youth delivered a second kick to the head, described in court as a "particularly ferocious kick, like kicking a football hard". A taxi driver reported a man was lying unconscious in the road to a passing police patrol car - while another member of the public alerted an ambulance when it became "immediately obvious that Mr Molloy was extremely unwell".

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

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 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."

All three will be sentenced on March 16.

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