For the first time, a security guard who was beaten to death in a gang attack has been photographed.
Christopher Molloy, 55, died as a result of the July 12 incident in Bootle Strand, Merseyside, in which two brothers and a 15-year-old boy were charged with murder.
A majority of the jury cleared Jay Byrne, 26, and Joseph Byrne, 25, of the charge yesterday, and the teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was unanimously convicted.
All three had previously confessed to manslaughter and will be sentenced on March 16.
An initial altercation erupted near a Burger King at around 12.45am, according to Liverpool Crown Court, after Mr Molloy was accused of “touching” the teen defendant’s girlfriend.
Jay Byrne, of Southport, was said to have either punched or pushed the stranger and then fled to a McDonald’s opposite.
He 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, of Litherland, and the then 14-year-old, reports the Liverpool Echo.
A second altercation was caught on CCTV and shown in court.
The video shows the younger Byrne “landing an extremely forceful punch” with his right hand, knocking Mr Molloy to the ground.
He tripped and “cracked his head on the pavement,” knocking him out. As he lay helpless on the floor, the juvenile was seen repeatedly slapping him in the face, a total of eight times.
Both attackers walked away, fist bumping as they went. Soon after, the boy reappeared, accompanied by Jay Byrne, who kicked Mr Molloy in the head while he was still unconscious.
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 numerous cuts, bruising, and swelling on his face and head, and he began vomiting once he was placed in the back of the ambulance. He was rushed to the Walton Centre and had emergency surgery shortly before 5 a.m.
However, Mr Molloy had suffered internal bleeding and fractures, and his life support was eventually removed.
He died a week after the assault on July 19, 2022.
On the stand, Joseph Byrne testified that he had given Mr Molloy “a little slap to teach him a lesson” after being accused of “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.”
When the guilty verdict was read at Liverpool Crown Court on Thursday, members of the 15-year-family old’s left the public gallery, and the boy stormed out of the dock, slamming a door.
Jay Byrne put his face in his hands and appeared to attempt to calm his co-defendant down, saying “chill bro”.
As he was led back down to the cells, Joseph Byrne could be seen smiling.