A 14-year-old boy has been convicted of murdering 12-year-old Liverpool schoolgirl Ava White after he stabbed her in the neck following a video posted on Snapchat.
The boy stabbed her and then showed ‘ruthless contempt’ for her actions, appearing ‘rather self-satisfied, like he felt big’, Liverpool Crown Court heard in a trial of 12 days.
The boy, who has a legal right to anonymity, had denied murder and manslaughter, saying he accidentally stabbed Ava in self-defence.
But a jury took two hours and eight minutes to return a guilty verdict. More than 20 members of Ava’s family were in the public gallery and there were cheers when he arrived.
The boy, who becomes one of the UK’s youngest convicted murderers, put his head in his hands.
Trial judge Ms Justice Yip said he would be sentenced on July 11 but warned the boy: “In light of the jury’s verdict, I think you know I can only impose a life sentence. . What I have to do is decide what is the shortest time you will have to serve in custody.
Ava was with friends to watch the Christmas lights being switched on in Liverpool city center on November 25 last year.
She was, said prosecutor Charlotte Newell QC, having the “time of her life” as she enjoyed herself in a group of around 10 children.
At one point, during a chance encounter, a group of four boys under the age of 15 began filming the antics. Ava objected to the shooting and walked up to the defendant, demanding that he delete the images he had posted on Snapchat, the court heard.
The boy’s defense barrister, Nick Johnson QC, had said Ava, who was 5cm taller than the accused, was the ‘aggressor’ and wanted to ‘beat him’.
Newell said the jury had to consider the boy’s behavior after the incident. Friends of Ava said the boy smiled and laughed after he stabbed her. He fled from the scene, abandoning the knife and his coat.
The jury saw CCTV footage of the boy and his friends entering a store, where they bought some butter, which he said was for crumpets, and he was seen fixing his hair to a selfie.
CCTV footage also showed in no doubt that he was the person who stabbed Ava, but he denied being there, telling police he was playing Call of Duty with a friend. In later interviews, he accused another boy of stabbing.
Newell said: “Knowing that he stabbed her, his behavior is that of someone who is, at best, totally indifferent, at worst, rather smug, like he feels great.”
She said the boy’s young age was no defense. “He’s not a baby in his arms, he knows right from wrong. He was able to make the decision to carry a knife. He was able to make the decision to use it and he was able to lie about it. again and again and again.
The boy, who suffers from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, appeared at trial via video link from a secure unit, often using toys to help him focus on the proceedings. He was accompanied by an intermediary.
Speaking in court, DS Sue Coombs said the Force’s thoughts were with the family.
“Her mother, father and sister are still completely devastated by what happened to Ava and it has been heartbreaking for them to witness Ava’s final moments during this legal process,” she said. added.
It was a trial that relied heavily on CCTV footage. Jury saw the high spirits of Ava and her friends in Liverpool city centre, sitting in flowerpots, sitting on top of each other, dancing, singing, falling and running around a Christmas tree .
They also saw the fatal moment the boy stabbed her, with Ava standing in front of the boy who had his right arm raised. In his right hand was a “reflecting object”.
The jury heard edited transcripts of five police interviews conducted in the days following his arrest. His responses to questions included numerous non-comments as well as “I’m not bothered” and “I don’t know”.
When asked why he lied to the police, he replied: “I was afraid of going to prison.” The knife, which had a 7.5cm blade, was found in March after the boy’s legal team contacted police to tell them where it was.
During an interview session he told an officer “shut up nuncio” while being questioned, although following legal discussions the jury was not told.
The murder, on one of the city’s busiest streets at one of the busiest times of the year, has shocked Liverpool. A town center vigil was held 12 days later and hundreds of mourners gathered at the town’s Catholic cathedral two days before Christmas Day to see her off.
Her casket was covered with family photographs of Ava, an 8th grade student at Notre Dame Catholic College. The mourners wore purple, pink, red and blue clothes – anything but black at the request of the family.