Video shows moment youngster struggled to see over counter at police station after he was arrested


This is the moment one of Britain’s youngest murderers struggled to see over the counter at a police station after he was arrested for fatally stabbing 12-year-old schoolgirl Ava White.

CCTV shows the teenager, then aged 14, sprinting down the street with friends before casually entering a shop shortly after stabbing Ava outside a Primark in Liverpool city centre. 

As medics fought to save the schoolgirl’s life, the killer teen bought butter for crumpets and arranged his hair for a selfie before going home to play Call Of Duty.

Footage also shows how the boy – at the time barely tall enough to see over the counter at the police station – being booked in by officers following Ava’s stabbing.

It comes after he was today given a life sentence – with a minimum jail term of 13 years – for stabbing Ava in the neck with a flick knife in November last year.

He knifed the Year 8 Catholic school pupil after an argument about him filming her and friends on Snapchat following a firework display in Liverpool city centre.

His sentencing at Liverpool Crown Court comes after a judge earlier rejected family and media demands to lift a legal provision protecting the killer’s anonymity.

The boy’s identity is automatically protected under UK law, due to him being under the age of 18. However a judge can make an order for the provision to be lifted.

Just last month, in a unrelated case involving a similarly aged defendant, a judge at Cardiff Crown Court lifted an order protecting the identity of 14-year-old Craig Mulligan after he was jointly found guilty of the murder of five-year-old Logan Mwangi.

Today, at the sentencing for Ava’s murder, an application to lift the killer’s anonymity was put forward to the court. 

But it was rejected by a judge, who said there were ‘immediate concerns for the defendant if his identity becomes more widely known’. 

Judge Amanda Yip also said she had taken into account the ‘safety and welfare’ of the killer’s family in refusing the application. 

It comes after he was today given a life sentence - with a minimum jail term of 13 years - for stabbing Ava (pictured) in the neck with a flick knife in November last year

He knifed the Year 8 Catholic school pupil (pictured) after an argument about him filming her and friends on Snapchat following a firework display in Liverpool city centre

It comes after he was today given a life sentence – with a minimum jail term of 13 years – for stabbing Ava (pictured left and right) in the neck with a flick knife in November last year. He knifed the Year 8 Catholic school pupil after an argument about him filming her and friends on Snapchat following a firework display in Liverpool city centre

CCTV shows the teenager, then aged 14, sprinting down the street before casually entering a convenience store following the incident outside a Primark in Liverpool city centre

CCTV shows the teenager, then aged 14, sprinting down the street before casually entering a convenience store following the incident outside a Primark in Liverpool city centre

Footage also shows how the boy being booked in by officers following the schoolgirl's stabbing

Footage also shows how the boy being booked in by officers following the schoolgirl’s stabbing

Today Ava's mother Leanne White (pictured here with Ava and her sister Mia) told the sentencing hearing how the tragic death of her daughter has replayed in her head ever since. The defendant, appearing via videolink, covered his face with his hand as Ms White and her older daughter Mia, 18, tearfully addressed the court, where more than 20 of Ava's family and friends were in the public gallery

Today Ava’s mother Leanne White (pictured here with Ava and her sister Mia) told the sentencing hearing how the tragic death of her daughter has replayed in her head ever since. The defendant, appearing via videolink, covered his face with his hand as Ms White and her older daughter Mia, 18, tearfully addressed the court, where more than 20 of Ava’s family and friends were in the public gallery

He stabbed the Year 8 Notre Dame Catholic College pupil with a flick knife (pictured) after an argument about him filming her on Snapchat

He stabbed the Year 8 Notre Dame Catholic College pupil with a flick knife (pictured) after an argument about him filming her on Snapchat

They said he ditched his knife, designer coat (pictured) and mobile phone in a 'cover-up', then took selfies, got butter for crumpets and played Call of Duty

They said he ditched his knife, designer coat (pictured) and mobile phone in a ‘cover-up’, then took selfies, got butter for crumpets and played Call of Duty

The jacket worn by the 14-year-old boy when he stabbed Ava White. It was then thrown in a bin (pictured) where it was later found

The jacket worn by the 14-year-old boy when he stabbed Ava White. It was then thrown in a bin (pictured) where it was later found

 Prosecutors say the teenager, now aged 15, laughed and ran away after inflicting young Ava with a fatal injury, before throwing his designer jacket in a nearby bin.

However legal representatives for the boy, who did not know Ava prior to the incident, insisted during the trial he was acting in ‘self-defence’.  A jury convicted him of murder following a two-week trial in May.

The teenager, who appeared on video-link throughout the trial, now counts among the UK’s youngest convicted murderers. 

Ava White’s family read victim impact statements in sentencing of 

Ava’s mother, Leanne, and sister, Mia, read out victim impact statements to the court.

Ava’s sister Mia White said: ‘Since that evening, my life has gone to a standstill. From the minute my sister was taken, I’m a shadow of my former loving sister.

‘I spent most of my time with Ava. We would sit on each other beds talking about how our day had gone.

‘I even miss how she would sneak into my room and take my makeup. Since that horrific evening, I barely go out anymore or speak to my friends.

‘Seeing my cousins laugh and play hurts me. I have a picture of Ava which I kiss every day. It shouldn’t be a picture, it should be here.

‘Every day I experience flashbacks and nightmares of that horrific night. The unnecessary horrendous murder of my sister has really shocked and frightened me.

‘To cover up a murder in such a cold and calculated way. A 14-year-old boy should not take the life of another child.

‘I try so hard to be as strong as I can for my mum, who should never have to bury her child.’

She said her mother worked at Primark for years, but is unable to return to work due to it being next to the scene of Ava’s murder.

Mia, 18, who hopes to give talks in schools across the city highlighting the impact of knife crime, added: ‘My life as it was has changed. I miss my sister.

‘The pain is never-ending. The day my sister died is yesterday, today and forever.’

Ava’s mother Leanne White said: ‘It’s the past, the present and the future. It’s not one horrific moment, our lives became permanently divided into before and after.

‘My beloved Ava dies all over again every morning I wake up. My Ava dies again every moment she’s not with us for the rest of my life.

‘She was my life, the life and soul of the party. She was a happy, healthy child adored by her family. The light of my life was dimmed forever.

‘Now I have nothing to live for. I remember how excited she was for Christmas. Never could I imagine I would never see my beautiful baby alive again.

‘My heart is broken. I will never hear her laughter or hold her in my arms. Precious memories are all I have left of my Ava.

‘Ava was a kind-hearted little girl. She was more than happy to offer support where it was needed, and people would come to her knowing she would do her best for them.

‘I will never see her grow into an adult, marry or give birth to children.’

The heartbroken mother said her daughter wanted to travel the world and would have had a ‘wonderful life’.

Leanne added: ‘Laughter was not missing from our home as it is now, neither was happiness.

‘We were once a happy family getting on with our lives. I was once outgoing, but I now dread each new day. My baby was murdered.

‘All this horror was caused by an individual who insisted on recording Ava on his phone. She was 12 years old, a child.

‘She had only gone to watch the lights being switched on for Christmas. How could we ever imagine this would lead to her death?

‘Rest in peace my baby girl, you are loved. The people of Liverpool have been so kind. To all the people of Liverpool, our heartfelt thanks to you.’

Ava’s father Robert Martin told the court: ‘Ava is my only child. How could I possibly put into words how having the one thing in this world that I got so right, taken away from me before I had the chance to embody the true values of life. 

‘I thought I had started this journey of giving Ava the valuable information I had learnt from my mistakes, so Ava could go on and make better decisions in her life. 

‘I suppose I fell victim of thinking I had more time. Instead I had to help my 11-year-old nephew deal with losing his best friend and cousin to knife crime.

‘I have had to nurse my 72-year-old father through therapy only to be diagnosed with PSTD. This is whilst I was trying to process my own feelings, in a world I no longer understand or care for.

‘Ava was the reason I got out of bed, my reason for living. When Ava was taken away it destroyed everything I stood for and work towards.

‘When I wake up I think for a split second think that Ava is still here. I didn’t lose my daughter on the 25th November 2021 I lose her every morning and will for the rest of my life.’

Today Ava’s mother Leanne White told the sentencing hearing how the tragic death of her daughter has replayed in her head ever since.

The defendant, appearing via videolink, covered his face with his hand as Ms White and her older daughter Mia, 18, tearfully addressed the court, where more than 20 of Ava’s family and friends were in the public gallery. 

Delivering a heartbreaking victim impact statement at the sentencing, Ms White told the court: ‘My beloved Ava dies all over again every morning I wake up.

‘She was my life, the life and soul of the party. She was a happy, healthy child adored by her family. The light of my life was dimmed forever.

‘Now I have nothing to live for. I remember how excited she was for Christmas. Never could I imagine I would never see my beautiful baby alive again.

‘My heart is broken. I will never hear her laughter or hold her in my arms. Precious memories are all I have left of my Ava.’

She described Ava as a ‘kind-hearted little girl who wanted to travel the world and would have had a ‘wonderful life’.

Leanne added: ‘Laughter was not missing from our home as it is now, neither was happiness.

‘We were once a happy family getting on with our lives. I was once outgoing, but I now dread each new day. My baby was murdered.

‘All this horror was caused by an individual who insisted on recording Ava on his phone. She was 12 years old, a child.

‘She had only gone to watch the lights being switched on for Christmas. How could we ever imagine this would lead to her death?

Leanne also thanked Merseyside Police, and the people of Liverpool, who turned up in their hundreds after Ava’s death to show their support at a vigil in her honour.

Meanwhile, Eva’s sister Mia, 18, told the court in her impact statement: ‘Since that evening, my life has gone to a standstill. From the minute my sister was taken, I’m a shadow of my former loving sister.

‘I spent most of my time with Ava. We would sit on each other beds talking about how our day had gone.

‘I even miss how she would sneak into my room and take my makeup. Since that horrific evening, I barely go out anymore or speak to my friends.

‘Seeing my cousins laugh and play hurts me. I have a picture of Ava which I kiss every day. It shouldn’t be a picture, it should be here.

‘Every day I experience flashbacks and nightmares of that horrific night. The unnecessary horrendous murder of my sister has really shocked and frightened me.’  

She said her mother had worked at Primark where Ava had been stabbed outside for years before her daughter’s death but had been unable to return to work since due to it being next to the scene of Ava’s murder.

She added: ‘The society that we live in today needs to be educated on how the ripple effect of knife crime affects families, the damage that it causes and most importantly any families affected by murder are left with a life sentence to live that never ends.

‘No early release, nothing.’

Sentencing the killer today, Mrs Justice Yip said: ‘There is only one reason why Ava is dead and that is because you chose to carry a knife and you chose to get it out and use it.

‘You enjoyed carrying a knife. You were showing it off to your friends earlier that evening.

‘It was a nasty weapon and you should not have had it.’

But rejecting the application to allow the killer’s anonymity to be lifted, she said: ‘I well understand why Ava’s family wants him to be named. In this case, there are real and immediate concerns for the defendant if his identity becomes more widely known.

‘Having considered all the circumstances, I have concluded that the public interest is outweighed by the need to safeguard the welfare of the defendant. There is evidence that the authorities harbour a genuine concern to safeguard him.’

The court previously heard how Boy A gave a false alibi to police and blamed another boy for killing Ava, before changing his story and claiming he acted in self-defence.

The teenage said he ‘didn’t mean to’ stab Ava and was ‘trying to get her away from me’.

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

He said he thought she was a boy, who might be armed, and feared she would ‘batter’ him.

A jury found ‘Boy A’ guilty of murder after two hours and eight minutes of deliberation and a 12-day trial at Liverpool Crown Court in May.

Some members of Ava’s family roared and cheered, with shouts of ‘yes’ and ‘get in’, when the verdict was returned. Others burst into tears and some apologised for the reaction.

The court previously heard the knife used in the stabbing belonged to the boy. 

Nick Johnson QC, defending, said the defendant was carrying the knife because he had previously been a victim of crime. 

During the trial, the boy was asked why he had taken the flick knife, which had a 3in (7.5cm) blade, into the city centre that evening. 

He said: ‘Because I thought I was big.’

At the time of Ava’s death the boy was charged with other offences which have not yet been resolved, the court was told, and had come to the attention of the authorities because of concerns he was being exploited by older, more criminally sophisticated people. 

Ava White (pictured) was stabbed in the neck at the junction of School Lane and Church Alley in Liverpool city centre on November 25 last year

Ava White (pictured) was stabbed in the neck at the junction of School Lane and Church Alley in Liverpool city centre on November 25 last year

Police cars in Liverpool city centre following the murder on November 25 last year

Police cars in Liverpool city centre following the murder on November 25 last year 

A police cordon near the scene in Liverpool city centre where 12-year-old Ava White died following an assault

A police cordon near the scene in Liverpool city centre where 12-year-old Ava White died following an assault

The teenage said he 'didn't mean to' stab Ava and was 'trying to get her away from me'. However a jury found him guilty of murder. Pictured:  Police at the scene

The teenage said he ‘didn’t mean to’ stab Ava and was ‘trying to get her away from me’. However a jury found him guilty of murder. Pictured:  Police at the scene

Referring to a pre-sentence report on the defendant, Mr Johnson said: ‘One of the things that shines out is the suggestion that as part of his background he had been desensitised to violence, and that is not as a perpetrator of violence.’

‘Educating children is key to prevent future knife deaths’, says Ava White’s mother 

Speaking about how to avoid similar tragedies happening in the future, Leanne White said: ‘ I think education is key.

‘I think we need to be going into primary schools and starting at a young age to educate the kids of what carrying a knife does, the effects that it has on the families and the child that’s lost their life and the family.

‘If you put a knife in your pocket, you’re intending to use it. You’re not only destroying your own life but the life of your family as well.

‘I think more parents maybe need to be aware of what their kids are actually buying online – when it’s getting delivered, who’s paying for it, because the knives that these kids are carrying around now are just not normal kitchen knives, they’re flick knives, they’re pen knives, they’re hunting knives.

‘So, who’s paying for them? Who’s taking the delivery?’ 

The jury was shown CCTV of the boy running from the scene after Ava was stabbed – at the junction of School Lane and Church Alley in Liverpool city centre. 

They heard he discarded the knife and his coat, which was later found in a wheelie bin. 

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 his evidence, the teenager was asked why he had not agreed to give his phone to police.

He said: ‘Because they always take my phone. I have had a few phones took when I was in the police station.’

In March, the boy’s legal team contacted police to tell them the whereabouts of the knife he used to stab Ava.

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 court was previously told how the youth told a police officer ‘shut up you nonce’ and boasted about smoking weed as he was questioned over Ava’s death.

He was arrested at about 10.30pm on November 25 after initially telling his mother he was ‘not going the cells’.

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

Following legal discussions, the jury was not told that at the end of his first interview, he told an officer: ‘Shut up you nonce.’

He also referred to ‘smoking weed’ in part of an interview which was not read to the jury. 

Tributes left at the scene where Ava White was fatally stabbed by a 14-year-old boy in Liverpool in November last year

Tributes left at the scene where Ava White was fatally stabbed by a 14-year-old boy in Liverpool in November last year

A person holds the order of service at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral ahead of the funeral of Ava White following her fatal stabbing in November last year

A person holds the order of service at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral ahead of the funeral of Ava White following her fatal stabbing in November last year

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’. 

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

He added: ‘I was scared I was going to go to jail.’

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.

The court heard the boy, who has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and attended a special school, had previously been subject to a community resolution notice after hitting a PCSO last July. 

Mrs Justice Yip said the defendant was arrested in May last year for assault on two women but the case had not been to trial at the time of Ava’s death. 

Merseyside Police said a comprehensive review will be carried out into the circumstances of Ava’s murder and whether anything could have been done to ‘prevent or predict’ what happened.

Detective Superintendent Sue Coombs said: ‘Young people think they’re taking a knife with them for protection or to to feel bigger or braver.

‘But ultimately what will happen is a sequence of events that they don’t have an awful lot of control over, and things happen without much thought when there is a knife in your possession.

‘That’s the tragedy of the sort of cases. Nobody would think through that this was the right thing to do, but, because they’ve got easy access to something they’ve brought out with them, this kind of tragedy tends to happen.’

Intervening at an early age could change young people’s perceptions about carrying knives, say police in wake of Ava White’s murder 

Intervening at an early age could change young people’s perceptions about carrying knives, police hoping to prevent more tragedies following the murder of 12-year-old Ava White have said.

On Monday, a 15-year-old boy was sentenced to life after a jury found him guilty of murdering Ava in Liverpool city centre last November, when he stabbed her in the neck following a row over a Snapchat video.

During the trial, the boy was asked why he had taken the flick knife, which had a 3in (7.5cm) blade, into the city centre that evening.

He said: ‘Because I thought I was big.’

Superintendent Phil Mullaly, the knife crime lead for Merseyside Police, said the force and partners work with children from a young age to try to change their perception of carrying a knife.

‘What we have seen in Merseyside is a reduction of 11 to 15-year-olds who are victims of knife crime, from around 8.5% to around 5.5%, so the reductions are there in the last year in terms of young people involved in knife crime,’ he said.

‘But clearly one victim is one victim too many and we absolutely understand that.

‘There is a raft of work that goes on to ultimately work in that preventative space around tackling the perception of carrying a knife, especially amongst young people within Merseyside.’

He said the force works with other agencies, including public health, housing and education authorities, in the Violence Reduction Partnership.

‘We know if we can intervene at that younger stage with, say, an educational input, or some bespoke mentoring, we know that we can change the path of a young person’s thought process to carrying and picking up a weapon.’

The force said a comprehensive review will be carried out into the circumstances of Ava’s murder and whether anything could have been done to ‘prevent or predict’ what happened.

Mr Mullaly said there are ‘complex reasons’ for young people carrying knives.

‘Every individual who is caught in possession of a weapon, whether it be a young person or adult, is ultimately subject to questioning in interview in regards to why they carry that,’ he said.

‘What we do see is a mixture of responses, and some of that will be around maybe they perceive themselves to be seen as bigger than they are or they need it for protection or whatever the reason or rationale is.

‘It is something we have come across before and we still do, but I would always go back to actually you’re not bigger and you’re not going to protect yourself, you’re more likely to come to harm.’

Detective Superintendent Sue Coombs said: ‘Young people think they’re taking a knife with them for protection or to to feel bigger or braver.

‘But ultimately what what will happen is a sequence of events that they don’t have an awful lot of control over, and things happen without much thought when there is a knife in your possession.

‘That’s the tragedy of the sort of cases. Nobody would think through that this was the right thing to do, but, because they’ve got easy access to something they’ve brought out with them, this kind of tragedy tends to happen.’

 



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