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Teenager receives life sentence for murdering 12-year-old girl

|News, Violent crime

A fifteen-year-old boy has been sentenced to life imprisonment, and must serve a minimum of 13 years, for murdering a twelve-year-old girl in Liverpool city centre last November.

The teenager, who can’t be named because of his age, stabbed Ava White in the neck on the evening of 25 November – the night of the city’s Christmas lights switch-on.

Paramedics called to the scene found Ava collapsed on the floor in Church Alley and she died shortly afterwards in hospital.

She’d been in the city centre with a group of friends and family aged between 11 and 15 years old. The defendant had come in with a group of friends also, aged between 13 and 15 years old. The two groups had only a passing knowledge of one another and their subsequent encounter was by chance rather than design.

The knife used in the stabbing

The defendant had come into the city armed with a flick knife with a blade 7.5cm long and 2cm wide. He used the knife to stab Ava after they argued over the fact that he and his group had, without permission, filmed Ava and others in her group.

Ava was angry that they were filming her and she confronted him, insisting that he delete the footage. The defendant’s response to this confrontation was to pull out his knife and stab Ava in the neck. Ava immediately grabbed at her neck and her friends assumed at first that she had been punched or strangled.

The defendant fled the scene and began a conscious cover-up of his actions, discarding his knife, his phone and his coat. After he was arrested for murder he continued to try and cover his tracks and prevent the police discovering the truth.

He told lies and denied he’d even been in the city centre, until it became obvious that police had CCTV proving he was present. At that point he changed his account and claimed that another person was responsible for killing Ava.

He eventually admitted he’d stabbed her but said it was in self-defence. He was charged with murder but denied it.

The coat abandoned by the killer

On 24 May 2022, at Liverpool Crown Court, a jury found the 15-year-old boy guilty of murder, following a trial. Today (11 July 2022) he received a life sentence with a minimum of 13 years.

Senior Crown Prosecutor, Nicola Wyn Williams, said: “This is a tragic case in which a 12-year-old child died and another child has been found guilty of her murder.

“The CPS has worked hard to deal with the fact that the victim, defendant and many of the witnesses in this case were children.

“We have worked closely with the victim’s family to help them to understand what was  happening. We have provided a variety of special measures to support and protect the child witnesses and the trial process took into account the age of the defendant.”

Nicola added: “At the heart of this case is a knife that was used to inflict a fatal wound on Ava White. Knife crime is taking a heavy toll on society and many of the victims are young. The message of the CPS is - do not carry a weapon. This case illustrates, amongst many other things, the dreadful cost of carrying a knife.”

Clare Tripcony, Head of CPS Mersey-Cheshire's Complex Casework Unit, said: “The CPS pursued a charge of murder in this case. We argued that this defendant meant to do Ava White serious harm – he plunged a 7.5 cm knife into her neck. His actions were deliberate, and the jury agreed with that.

“Unfortunately, this prosecution, conviction and sentence will not bring Ava White back. That is what her family have now to try and come to terms with in some way. The CPS would like to extend our condolences to them and thank them for their courage and dignity throughout this tragic case.”

Notes to editors

  • Nicola Wyn Williams is a Senior Crown Prosecutor in CPS Mersey-Cheshire’s Complex Casework Unit.
  • Clare Tripcony is a Senior District Crown Prosecutor and Head of CPS Mersey-Cheshire's Complex Casework Unit
  • The defendant had pleaded guilty to having an offensive weapon before trial.

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