Two Merseyside teenagers sentenced for killing a man

31/01/2017

Two Liverpool teenagers have been sentenced for killing a father from Widnes.

The pair, both aged 16, were convicted of manslaughter on Thursday 22 December following a trial that spanned almost 3 weeks at Chester Crown Court.

The boys, who cannot be named because of their ages, were remanded into custody and were sentenced today (20.1 2017) at Chester Crown Court.

One of the boys was sentenced to 4 years' detention in a Young Offenders' Institution and the other was sentenced to 2 years in a Young Offenders' Institution.

The second boy was also required to serve a detention and training order as part of his sentence, for drugs offences.

Chester Crown Court heard that Lee Briggs was killed with a knife in bushes at St Marie's Community Park in Widnes on 16th May 2016.

The teenagers had travelled from Liverpool to the park to sell Class A drugs such as heroin and crack cocaine.

They'd been operating from behind some bushes in the park when the court heard that they were approached by Lee Briggs.

He asked them to hand over their money and drugs and threatened them with a knife. He grabbed one of the boys and held a knife to his neck.

One of the boys grabbed a machete that had previously been planted in the ground close by to deter robbers.

The other produced a knife which he used to stab Lee Briggs in the heart. The boys later made off in a taxi back to Liverpool.

Lee Briggs staggered a short distance from the scene but collapsed. The incident was partly witnessed by a woman who'd bought drugs from the teenagers earlier in the day. She raised the alarm and paramedics and the police arrived.

Lee Briggs was taken to Whitson Hospital but died shortly afterwards.

One of the boys admitted stabbing Mr Briggs but said it was in self defence as Mr Briggs was trying to rob him. The Crown Prosecution Service argued that the other boy was also guilty of murder as he had encouraged and assisted his accomplice to use his weapon.

The two teenagers had pleaded guilty to dealing in Class A Drugs but had denied murder. The jury found them not guilty of murder but both guilty of the manslaughter of Mr Briggs.

Crown Advocate, Robert Jones, of Mersey-Cheshire Crown Prosecution Service said: "These boys were just children but were already heavily involved in the violent and dangerous world of drug dealing.

"The Crown Prosecution Service prosecuted this case as joint enterprise. We argued that the two boys had acted together, with the same aim and had access to hidden weapons near to where they were dealing drugs in case they were robbed.

"It's clear Mr. Briggs had threatened them and demanded money and drugs but the response cannot be described as reasonable self defence.

"Mr. Briggs was killed by a single stab wound to the heart a blow clearly intended to do harm.

"The jury has found them both guilty of manslaughter and these two boys have now lost their liberty for a number of years.

"They were dealing in powerful, addictive drugs and killed a man - another example of the dangers of this evil trade. Our thoughts remain with the family of Mr. Briggs."