Boy, 14, sobs as he is found guilty of murdering Ava White in row over Snapchat video

24 May 2022, 14:39 | Updated: 24 May 2022, 17:03

Ava White (left) was killed in November last year.
Ava White (left) was killed in November last year. Picture: Alamy

By Sophie Barnett

A 14-year-old boy has been found guilty of the murder of 12-year-old Ava White, who was stabbed to death in Liverpool.

Ava was killed on 25 November last year after the city's Christmas lights switch on, which she had been attending with friends.

The court heard there'd been a row over a Snapchat video before she was fatally stabbed in the neck.

The 14-year-old defendant, who cannot be named for legal reasons, appeared on video link at Liverpool Crown Court on Tuesday, putting his head in his hands and broke down in tears as the guilty verdict was read out.

The jury was out for two hours and eight minutes before returning the verdict, with more than 20 members of Ava White's family erupting into cheers in the public gallery.

The defendant told the court he wanted to "frighten away" Ava after an altercation following the Christmas lights switch-on.

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He admitted possessing the knife, which the court heard had a 7.5cm blade, but denied her murder and manslaughter.

During the two-week trial, friends of Ava claimed the boy "grinned" after stabbing her in School Lane and running away.

"I promise, I didn't mean to hit her," the defendant told the jury.

He had claimed he accidentally stabbed the schoolgirl in the neck in self-defence.

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He told jurors that earlier in the evening he had heard one of Ava's group of friends threaten to stab his friend if he did not delete a Snapchat video of the 12-year-old.

The jury was shown CCTV of the boy running from the scene after Ava was stabbed and heard he discarded the knife and his coat, which was later found in a wheelie bin.

Ava White, 12, was stabbed to death in Liverpool city centre.
Ava White, 12, was stabbed to death in Liverpool city centre. Picture: Alamy

About 40 minutes after he injured Ava, the boy was contacted by his mother who told him police wanted to speak to him.

The jury heard a series of text messages sent between the boy and his mother, including one in which he said: "I'm not coming home. Not going the cells."

During interviews he denied being in the city centre on the night of the killing, claimed another boy was responsible, gave numerous "no comment" answers, told police "I'm not bothered" and said "I don't f****** know".

He also told a police officer "shut up you nonce" as he was questioned.

Members of Ava White's family carrying her coffin.
Members of Ava White's family carrying her coffin. Picture: Alamy

In his evidence, the teenager was asked why he had lied to police and he said he thought he would "get away with it".

After the incident, CCTV captured the defendant with his friends in a shop where he took a selfie and the group bought butter, which he said was for crumpets.

He then went to a friend's home, later telling police he had not been in the city centre at all that evening after his arrest shortly after 10.30pm.

In later interviews he blamed another boy for the stabbing.

Schoolgirl Ava White was fatally stabbed to death last year.
Schoolgirl Ava White was fatally stabbed to death last year. Picture: Alamy

In March, the boy's legal team contacted police to tell them the whereabouts of the knife he used to stab Ava - which belonged to the 14-year-old.

He was asked in court why he wanted police to have that information and said: "Because I'm telling the truth and I didn't mean to do it."

The boy was accompanied by an intermediary throughout the trial, which he attended over video-link.

He was given a fidget toy which the jury was told could help him concentrate due to his attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

A member of the jury wiped away a tear as they were discharged by Mrs Justice Yip.

Mrs Justice Yip told the defendant: "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."

She adjourned the case for sentencing on July 11.