Four men and a 14-year-old boy were sentenced to prison for assaulting and murdering an 18-year-old man in an internet café.
Michael Toohey died in hospital after a “brutal assault” in Liverpool on 16 April 2022.
Following a trial at Liverpool Crown Court, brothers Keiron Williams, 28, Anthony Williams, 32, and Michael Williams, 25, as well as Steven McInerney, 34, and the teenager, were found guilty.
The judge stated that the attack was part of a drug turf war.
At a hearing on November 14, the five defendants all pleaded not guilty to the charge.
Keiron Williams, of no fixed address, was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum of 18 years.
Anthony Williams and Michael Williams, both of Walton, Liverpool, and McInerney, of no fixed address, all received the same sentence.
The 14-year-old boy was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of eight years.
On a Saturday afternoon, Mr. Toohey was pursued into an internet café on Liverpool’s London Road.
According to police, there was a feud between rival drug gangs in the area.
Judge David Aubrey KC stated that the boy called Keiron Williams to inform him that Mr Toohey was in the area. He called it a “call to arms” with the intention of teaching Michael a lesson.
The judge said that during the attack, Keiron Williams told Mr Toohey: “I am going to stab you. I will not let you go. I will tell you who the gangster is.”
The judge added that he was satisfied the attack was part of a drugs turf war. He described it as “swift, brutal, ferocious and sustained”.
In a victim impact statement, Mr Toohey’s family said: “Michael… had his whole life ahead of him; he had a baby on the way. He had started to turn his life around. Michael was excited and making future plans for the arrival of his baby, wanting to leave the past behind him.
“Our mother cries constantly and refuses to leave her bed for days on end, often waking up screaming in the night. We have watched our mother and father deteriorate from fun-loving parents and grandparents into the heartbroken souls they’ve become.”
“On that fateful day, Michael ran for his life and begged to be saved.”
“Michael’s death illustrates the devastation that acts of violence have not only on the victim, but on families, friends, those who witnessed it, including people who work in the emergency services, and the wider community,” said Det Ch Insp Stephen McGrath of Merseyside Police.
“Those involved in serious and organised crime need to understand they are masters of their own destiny. The decisions they make have the potential to change people’s lives, and they must accept responsibility for their actions.”
Kirkby residents Jack Knox, 20, David Shelley, 26, Callum Howell, 21, and Matthew Wynn, 25, were found not guilty of Mr Toohey’s murder.