A 15-year-old boy yelled at a judge, “you fat ugly p****,” as he was found guilty of murder today at Liverpool Crown Court.
The boy, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, killed Christopher Molloy, 55, along with two brothers in an early-morning ‘gang attack’ in Merseyside’s Bootle area in July.
Jay Byrne, 26, Joseph Byrne, 25, and the boy appeared back before Liverpool Crown Court today where they had been on trial charged with murdering Mr Molloy.
Both brothers were acquitted of murder on Thursday after pleading guilty to manslaughter. After nearly four hours of deliberation, the jury returned a majority verdict finding the 15-year-old boy guilty.
The boy shouted ‘you fat, ugly p****’ as he was convicted of murder and slammed a door as he stormed out of the dock.
Jay Byrne put his face in his hands then appeared to attempt to calm his co-defendant down, saying: ‘Chill bro.’
On March 16, all three males will be sentenced again at Liverpool Crown Court.
Jurors previously heard that an initial altercation between the parties erupted near Burger King near the Bootle Strand shopping centre 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 accused of punching or pushing the stranger, who then fled to the McDonald’s opposite and sought help from staff ‘because he was concerned about what was happening and 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, Merseyside – 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 is said to have 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.
As both attackers walked away, they were caught on camera fist bumping.
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 ‘particularly ferocious’ kick to the head, described compared to ‘kicking a football hard’.
Following the heinous attack, a patrolling police car was flagged down by a taxi driver who reported seeing a man lying unconscious in the road.
Another member of the public called the attention of a passing ambulance, and it became ‘immediately obvious that Mr Molloy was extremely unwell,’ the court heard.
He had numerous cuts, bruising, and swelling on his face and head and began vomiting once he was placed in the back of the ambulance.
He was rushed to the Walton Centre and underwent emergency surgery shortly before 5 a.m.
Mr Molloy, on the other hand, had suffered internal bleeding and fractures, and his life support was eventually turned off. 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.
However, during cross-examination, he appeared to become irritated with the youngster, 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 testify at the trial, but the boy said from the witness stand that he had been imitating a scene from the 1995 comedy film Friday, specifically 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.’