CRIME AND JUSTICE

Ava White: Boy guilty of murdering girl, 12, in Snapchat row

He claimed he had wanted to "frighten her away" and had not meant to stab her.

In Summary

• Justice Amanda Yip told the boy that in light of the verdict, he would face a life sentence, but she was still to decide "what the shortest amount of time that you will have to serve in custody is".

• More than 20 members of Ava's family cheered as the verdict was passed, while the boy, who was appearing on video-link, had his head in his hands.

Ava White died after the Christmas light switch-on in Liverpool
Ava White died after the Christmas light switch-on in Liverpool
Image: FAMILY HANDOUT

A boy who stabbed a schoolgirl in a row over a Snapchat video has been found guilty of her murder.

Ava White, 12, was fatally stabbed in Liverpool city centre after a Christmas lights switch-on on 25 November 2021.

The 14-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told Liverpool Crown Court he accidentally stabbed her in self-defence.

He had pleaded guilty to possessing an offensive weapon but was convicted of murder after a trial.

Mrs Justice Amanda Yip told the boy that in light of the verdict, he would face a life sentence, but she was still to decide "what the shortest amount of time that you will have to serve in custody is".

The court was told the knife which the boy used to stab Ava had a 3ins (7.5cm) blade
The court was told the knife which the boy used to stab Ava had a 3ins (7.5cm) blade
Image: PA MEDIA

The court heard Ava and her friends became involved in an argument with the teenager and three of his friends after the boys recorded Snapchat videos of her group.

The boy told the jury he heard one of Ava's group threaten to stab his friend if he did not delete a video of Ava.

He claimed he had wanted to "frighten her away" and had not meant to stab her.

Ava's friends said the boy "grinned" after attacking her in School Lane before fleeing.

The court heard he then discarded the knife and took off his coat, which was later found in a wheelie bin.

Shortly after, CCTV showed him and his friends in a shop where the boy took a selfie and the group bought butter, which he said was for crumpets.

He then went to a friend's home and when his mother contacted him to tell him police wanted to speak to him, he told her he was playing a computer game.

The youth was arrested at about 22:30 GMT, a few hours after the stabbing, and initially told his mother he was "not going the cells".

He told police he had not been in the city centre, but in later interviews, he went on to blame another boy for the stabbing.

A week after Ava was murdered, Liverpool and Everton fans paid tribute to her at the Merseyside derby
A week after Ava was murdered, Liverpool and Everton fans paid tribute to her at the Merseyside derby
Image: REUTERS

He told the court he had lied to police because he thought he would "get away with it", adding: "I was scared I was going to go to jail."

The boy admitted possessing the knife, which the court heard had a blade measuring 3ins (7.5cm), but denied murder and an alternative charge of manslaughter.

The jury heard edited transcripts of five police interviews carried out in the days following his arrest.

Following legal discussions, the jury was not told that in one interview, he told an officer to "shut up" and called him a derogatory term, while in another, he referred to "smoking weed".

The jury delivered its verdict after deliberating for two hours eight minutes, with one jury member wiping away a tear as they were discharged by Mrs Justice Yip.

More than 20 members of Ava's family cheered as the verdict was passed, while the boy, who was appearing on video-link, had his head in his hands.

Adjourning the case for sentencing on 11 July, the judge told the boy that "in light of the jury's verdict, I think you know I can only impose a life sentence, but what I have to do is decide what the shortest amount of time that you will have to serve in custody is".

Balloons were released at the start of the vigil in memory of Ava in December
Balloons were released at the start of the vigil in memory of Ava in December
Image: PA MEDIA

Speaking outside court, Det Supt Sue Coombs said Ava's mother, father and sister were "completely devastated".

"Since that dreadful night they have suffered immeasurable grief and sadness," she continued.

"It has been heartbreaking for them to witness Ava's final moments during this court process."

The detective thanked the members of the public, retail staff and medics "who did everything they could to try save Ava's life".

Liverpool Mayor Joanne Anderson said the city council's thoughts were also with Ava's family and friends.

"We can only hope that the verdict brings them some comfort," Ms Anderson added.

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