A 14-year-old boy has been convicted of murdering 12-year-old Liverpool schoolgirl Ava White after he stabbed her in the neck following a video posted on Snapchat.
The boy stabbed her and then showed ‘ruthless contempt’ for her actions, appearing ‘rather self-satisfied, like he felt big’, Liverpool Crown Court heard in a trial of 12 days.
The boy, who has a legal right to anonymity, had denied murder and manslaughter, saying he accidentally stabbed Ava in self-defence.
But a jury took two hours and eight minutes to return guilty verdicts. The trial judge, Ms Justice Yip, said he would be sentenced at a later date.
Ava was with friends to watch the Christmas lights being switched on in Liverpool city center on November 25 last year.
She was, said prosecutor Charlotte Newell QC, having the “time of her life” as she enjoyed herself in a group of around 10 children.
At one point, a group of four boys under the age of 15 began filming the antics.
Ava took offense to the shooting and responded to the accused, demanding that he delete the images he posted on Snapchat.
The boy’s defense barrister, Nick Johnson QC, had said Ava, who was 5cm taller than the accused, was the ‘aggressor’ and wanted to ‘beat him’.
Newell said the jury had to consider the boy’s behavior after the incident. He fled from the scene, abandoning the knife and his coat.
The jury saw CCTV footage of the boy and his friends entering a store, where they bought some butter, which he said was for crumpets, and he was seen fixing his hair to a selfie.
CCTV footage also showed in no doubt that he was the person who stabbed Ava, but he denied being there, telling police he was playing Call of Duty with a friend.
Newell said: “Knowing that he stabbed her, his behavior is that of someone who is, at best, totally indifferent, at worst, rather smug, like he feels great.”
She said the boy’s young age was no defense. “He’s not a baby in his arms, he knows right from wrong.
“He was able to make the decision to carry a knife. He was able to decide to use it and he was able to lie about it again and again and again.
The boy, who suffers from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, appeared at the trial via video link, often using toys to help him focus on the proceedings. He was accompanied by an intermediary.
It was a trial that relied heavily on CCTV footage. Jury saw the high spirits of Ava and her friends in Liverpool city centre, sitting in flowerpots, sitting on top of each other, dancing, singing, falling and running around a Christmas tree .
They also saw the fatal moment the boy stabbed her, with Ava standing in front of the boy who had his right arm raised. In his right hand was a “reflecting object”.
The murder, on a crowded street at one of the busiest times of the year, shocked Liverpool. Hundreds of mourners gathered at the city’s Catholic cathedral two days before Christmas Day to see her off.
Her coffin was covered in family photographs of Ava and the mourners wore purple, pink, red and blue attire – anything but black at the family’s request.