A teenage killer has been jailed for the murder of schoolgirl Ava White who was stabbed to death at a Christmas light switch on.
The 14-year-old boy launched a 7.5-inch flick blade into Ava’s neck when an argument broke out over a Snapchat video in November 2021.
The killer, who cannot be named for legal reasons, and 12-year-old Ava had both attended the event separately in Liverpool city centre when the festive evening ended in a murder probe.
Boy A, now aged 15, was given a life sentence with a minimum of 13 years behind bars as the judge told him he will have to “grow up in custody”.
Ava’s mother described her anguish claiming she has “nothing to live for” as she pleaded with Justice Amanda Yip to publicly name her daughter’s killer.
But Justice Yip ruled against lifting reporting restrictions on the murderer’s identity after his defence claimed he had already been “subject to threats” in custody.
Ava’s mum, Leanne, said: “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.”
Leanne said her daughter wanted to travel the world and would have had a “wonderful life”.
She 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?”
Ava’s dad, Robert and sister, Mia, also made statements in court paying tribute to their loved one.
Mia described how she has become “a shadow” of her former self, unable to go out or even speak with her friends.
Mia says: “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.”
During a trial in May, the court heard how Ava had been ‘dancing and laughing’ with her friends, aged 11-15, before she was killed.
Police launched a manhunt to track down Boy A and discovered crucial pieces of evidence including a coat stained with Ava’s blood discarded in a wheelie bin.
Transcripts of interviews revealed how Boy A had fed the police a series of lies including a false alibi and hiding his blood stained clothes and murder weapon.
Cops showed the boy CCTV placing him at the scene prompting him to blame another innocent boy for Ava’s murder.
In his evidence, the teen was asked why he lied to police and said he thought he would “get away with it”. He added: “I was scared I was going to go to jail.”
In March, the boy’s legal team contacted police to tell them the whereabouts of the knife.
He was asked in court why he wanted police to have it and said: “Because I’m telling the truth and I didn’t mean to do it.”
Finally in a fifth police interview, the boy was quizzed about his lies and replied ‘no comment’.
The killer was accused of having a “callous disregard” for his young victim, when it was heard that he took selfies, got butter for crumpets and played Call of Duty while Ava lay dying.
During the trial Boy A claimed he had acted in self defence but Ava’s family cheered and clapped when the jury unanimously returned a guilty verdict in just over two hours of deliberations.
At the sentencing today (July 11), Boy A’s defence claimed the killer was “beginning to realise” the consequences of his actions and that the incident has had “very real consequences” on his own family.
He said: “His decision to take out the knife, his appalling decision to take it out of his pocket and use it, is one that will blight many people’s lives for a long time to come.
“He’s now beginning to realise that. Of course, it’s all too late.”
Mr Johnson added that Boy A was “particularly immature” and that he was also a victim who was “exploited by other people on the streets”.
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.
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.
During the trial, Boy A was accompanied by an intermediary and given a fidget spinner on account of his ADHD.
In a statement read out to the court, Ava’s dad Robert said: “Ava was the reason I got out of bed.
“My reason for living was taken away. When I wake up, I think for a split second Ava is still here.
“I lose her every morning, and will for the rest of my life.”
In the weeks after her death, teachers, family and friends paid tribute to ‘beautiful’ Ava with dozens of bouquets laid at the murder scene.
Huge crowds gathered in the city centre to hold a vigil in her memory before a heart-breaking funeral was held at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral in December.
At the sentencing, Justice Yip told Boy A he would also pay a victim surcharge and spend at least 13 years in jail.
She said: “There is only one reason why Ava is dead, because you chose to carry a knife and chose to get it out and use it.
“It was a nasty weapon, and you should not have had it.
“This morning, Ava’s sister Mia spoke bravely about her loss and the terrible impact of knife crime on families.
“I cannot put it any better than her. As she said, ‘the victim’s family is left with a life sentence that will never end’.
“Friends who witnessed her murder will be deeply affected for the rest of their lives.
“You will have a chance to grow up, but your life will be changed forever.
“You will have to do the rest of your growing up in custody.”