Youngster had been ‘having the time of her life with friends’ before she was knifed during confrontation at Christmas lights switch-on in Liverpool
A 14-year-old boy has been found guilty of the murder of schoolgirl Ava White.
The teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, claimed he accidentally stabbed the 12-year-old in self-defence after a row over a Snapchat video in Liverpool city centre on 25 November 2021.
He admitted possessing the knife, which Liverpool Crown Court heard had a 7.5cm blade, but denied her murder and manslaughter.
More than 20 members of Ava’s family erupted into cheers in the court’s public gallery as a jury returned a verdict of guilty to the charge of murder on Tuesday after just two hours and eight minutes of deliberation. The defendant, on video link, put his head in his hands.
Jurors heard how Ava was fatally stabbed in the neck following a Christmas lights switch-on in Liverpool city centre.
Charlotte Newell QC, prosecuting, said that in the hour before her death, Ava had been “having the time of her life with her friends”.
The court heard pre-recorded evidence from a 14-year-old friend of Ava’s, who said the group had shared some vodka and were “messing about” when they saw the flash of phone cameras and realised they were being recorded by a group of four boys, including the defendant.
Ava and a friend approached the boys and asked them to stop filming and delete the footage, before being joined by more of her friends, including two older boys, jurors were told.
The jury was told the older boys left but the defendant and his friends then “jeered” at Ava, causing her to run towards them.
Footage captured on cameras at the back of the city’s Primark store at 8.35pm showed Ava push the defendant and him back away, before he raised his hand in front of him showing a “reflective object”.
The video then showed him running away from the scene and Ava holding her hands to her neck.
Home Office pathologist Dr Jonathan Medcalf said Ava died as a result of the stab wound to her neck, which was about five to six centimetres long and damaged her windpipe and jugular vein, causing catastrophic bleeding.
He said he believed a moderate degree of force was used.
The court heard how after Ava was struck to the neck the defendant ran away, discarded his knife and took off his coat, which was later found in a wheelie bin.
CCTV showed him and his friends in a shop where the defendant 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 because police wanted to speak to him he told her he was playing a computer game.
After he was arrested, just after 10.30pm, he initially told police he had not been in the city centre but in later interviews blamed another boy for the stabbing.
The trial heard in his first police interview, on 26 November, the defendant denied having been in the city centre that evening and said he was at a friend’s house playing “Call Of Duty” on a PlayStation.
The defendant admitted being in the city centre in his second interview the following day, after being shown CCTV.
Judge Ms Justice Yip said the defendant would be sentenced at a later date.