Family of man killed in Liverpool street attack haunted by 2003 tragedy

The family of a young man beaten to death in Liverpool city center have revealed that his cousin also lost his life to violence.

Michael Toohey, 18, was attacked in the Monument Place area on Saturday evening. Michael, who was found in an internet café, was taken to the Royal Liverpool Hospital but died from his injuries.

Earlier today Michael’s family released a powerful tribute to the “beautiful, well-mannered, placid young man”. Michael’s family also made specific reference to a cousin of Michael who was killed in 2003.

READ MORE:‘Beautiful young man’ beaten to death by ‘up to eight attackers’

The statement, released through Merseyside Police, read: “In 2003 Michael’s young cousin Johnny Delaney was attacked in Ellesmere Port and left to die days before his 16th birthday.”

Johnny was just 15 when he was attacked while visiting a caravan site in Ellesmere Port on May 28 2003. Johnny was kicked in the head during the attack.

A subsequent trial at Chester Crown Court heard how Lewis McVeigh and Ricky Kearney led the attack. McVeigh kicked Johnny while he lay defenseless on the ground and repeatedly stamped on his head.

Kearney punched Johnny and kicked him to the head. A local man told the court that he tried to save Johnny after the attack.

The man, 37, said that he saw Johnny lying on the ground and not moving and as he had some first aid experience he tried to help him while a neighbor dialed 999.

He said: “We put him in the recovery position first and checked for a pulse. I found a slight one in his neck. He was not breathing normally. He was taking big gasps of air, but he was not breathing back out.

“The ambulance people asked us to put him back on to his back because of the way he was gasping for air. I kept checking for a pulse, but it just seemed to fade away.”

It was the prosecution’s case that Johnny, who lived with his family at an official travelers site in Oil Street in Vauxhall, was attacked simply because he was a member of the Irish traveling community. But the judge, Mr Justice Richards, said he could not be sure whether the attack was racially aggravated.

McVeigh and Kearney, both from Ellesmere Port, were cleared of murder but found guilty of manslaughter. They were jailed for four years and six months each.

The case generated huge interest at the time. Speaking outside court after the sentencing Johnny’s father Patrick said the sentences were far too short. He said: “We’ve had no justice whatsoever.”

Merseyside Police have now launched a murder investigation into Michael Toohey’s death. Earlier today the ECHO revealed how the 18-year-old is thought to have been attacked by a large group of men.

On Sunday a shop worker said she heard ‘screaming and shouting’ coming from the scene at the time of the attack.

The 18-year-old found fatally injured at an internet cafe on London Road was named locally as Michael Toohey

Earlier today Michael’s family released a powerful tribute to the “beautiful, well-mannered, placid young man”. In a statement issued via Merseyside Police, they said: “Michael came from a beautiful accepting family who would welcome anybody and do anything for anyone in need.

“The family please ask if anybody knows or hears of anything related to Michael’s tragic death please come forward and prevent this from happening to anyone else’s innocent child. A boy full of potential and grace has had his life taken from him and his family left devastated , who could be responsible for such a horrific act?

“Rest in paradise our beautiful boy. We will miss your cheeky face. Forever young. Goodnight, God bless our beautiful boy Michael Toohey.”

A 34-year-old woman from Fazakerley has been arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender.

Earlier today Detective Chief Inspector Steve McGrath said: “We are continuing to follow a number of lines of inquiry and I would ask anyone who has not already contacted us, to do so as a matter of urgency. A young man has tragically lost his life and we are committed to finding the person or people responsible and putting them behind bars.

“This incident happened in a busy area of ​​Liverpool City Center at around 5.40pm on Saturday evening. We know there were a number of people standing at bus stops on London Road, walking past TJ Hughes or driving along London Road who may have witnessed this incident or a vehicle that was seen driving erratically in the area at that time.

“I am keen to appeal to those people to come forward so we can speak to them. Similarly anybody who may have mobile phone footage or dash cam footage then please come forward. ”

Anyone with information on this incident is asked to contact @MerPolCC, 101 or @CrimestoppersUK, anonymously on 0800 555 111 with reference 22000261976. Anyone with any footage, is urged to upload it via this link to the NICE website.

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