When a mother went to bed on the night of May 3, 2021, she had every reason to believe that her teenage son was about to do the same.
It was over 10.30pm and her 15-year-old boy was playing games on his Xbox.
As far as she knew, it was going to be any other Monday night in Bolton.
But as she slept, her son slipped out of the family home armed with a knife and stabbed 15-year-old Reece Tansey to death on Walker Avenue in Great Lever.
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When she woke up in the morning, her son was lying asleep in bed.
It was not until later that morning that she learned the dreadful truth of what he had done.
Her son came and found her in the living room. He had something to tell her, but the words did not come easily.
“Last night I went out arguing,” he said at last.
“I stabbed someone and I just found out they’re dead.”
She was in shock and disbelief. Had her teenage son really gone out at night and stabbed someone to death?
She collected the clothes he had been wearing, including a blood-stained glove that matched Reeces’ DNA, and put them in a trash can.
As she was preparing to hand over her son to the police, he performed a factory reset of his phone in a desperate attempt to hide his tracks.
He was bundled into the car and marched down to Bolton police station, where he was arrested at 1:25 p.m.
Today, the 15-year-old – boy A – was convicted of murder after a three-week trial at Manchester Crown Court.
The jury discussed for more than 29 hours before coming to their conclusion.
Another 15-year-old – nicknamed Boy B – was convicted of manslaughter.
Juries heard that Reece was killed after being involved in a fight between a friend and one of the defendants – Boy B.
In a series of Snapchat messages, both boys have ‘aged and provoked’ Reece and his girlfriend to meet for a fight.
But after the friend changed his mind, Reece showed up alone.
He was stabbed six times before one of his killers bragged about what he had done on social media.
During the trial, jurors heard how the defendants ‘lived out a fantasy’, ‘pretended to be gangsters’ and listened to drill music.
But before stabbing Reece, Boy A said he had never used knives.
However, he had a point to prove. Just a few weeks before Reece was killed, boy A had been hunted with knives in an unrelated incident.
The feud escalated in the early hours of May 4, when the four teenagers exchanged messages over Snapchat and Instagram.
Boy A has reportedly sent a message to Reece threatening to get him to ‘beg for his life’ and tell him ‘you and your boy will get it’.
Meanwhile, Boy B sent a message to friends via Snapchat asking for Reece’s home address.
All four boys later agreed to meet, and Reece left home and went to the meeting place at Great Lever Park.
When a friend warned boy A and boy B that Reece might take others with him, boy A said to her, “It’s okay, I have a knife.”
But when Reece was on his way, the court heard his friend inform him that he had decided to stay in bed.
Boy A was determined not to retire. If he failed to show up, he feared he would ‘look scared’, and Reece might tell others.
Before heading out to the fateful meeting, he swallowed some vodka and took two knives from his mother’s kitchen drawer.
One of the knives was to be lent to boy B, who was unable to get his own as ‘there was someone in his kitchen’.
Boy A managed to sneak out, while boy B made a quarrel with his father as an excuse to leave home.
The couple met on Ploder Lane before heading to the venue. The plan was for Boy A to fight Reece while Boy B filmed it on his phone.
But moments after meeting Reece, Boy A stabbed him six times.
Two men were spotted watching Reece ‘fall on all fours’ in the middle of the road while another man was seen ‘jumping as if he had been in a fight’.
The men drove towards Reece, who asked them for help, noting that the blood ‘ran from his arm and stomach’.
The men initially drove away while calling emergency services for fear they might be in danger. When they returned to the place, they saw Reece knocking on the door of a house.
While Reece was being driven to the hospital, the two boys crawled back into their home and discussed the fight on Snapchat.
In a video, boy A was seen carrying a knife covered in blood along with the caption ‘muppet’.
The image was described as a ‘sickly’ display of ‘macho bravado’, performed in a ‘completely pathetic’ attempt to show off on social media.
The boy would later throw the knife into a stream, afraid that his mother would encounter it at home.
In another message, boy A said, “I thought it only went through his coat, so I kept doing it.
He added: “He is dead now.”
Boy B then responded with a grinning emoji.
Prosecutor Mark Ford QC described the two boys as having an ‘overwhelming will to prove how tough they were’ and killed Reece for ‘teaching him a lesson’.
“He died because boy A and boy B were determined to demonstrate to their peers how their rivals would be put in their place,” Mr Ford told jurors earlier in court.
At Manchester Crown Court today, a jury of twelve people returned their sentences to Judge Mrs Justice Farbey after spending more than 29 hours considering.
With a majority of 10-2, boy A was found guilty of murder.
Boy B was found guilty of manslaughter by a majority.
Judge Farbey thanked the jury for their service and said each member would be excluded from any additional jury service for life.
In a statement issued after the verdicts, Detective Nicola McCulloch, who led the investigation into Reece’s murder, said: “This was a really horrific attack by two teenage boys whose heinous acts mean that the lives of Reece’s families will now never be the same, and my thoughts is very much with them today.
“Our team of detectives worked around the clock after Reece’s death to bring these boys to court, and I hope today’s verdicts bring Reece’s family some relief.
“This incident should be a sharp reminder to all those who carry knives that your actions can ruin lives, and GMP will not tolerate knife crime. If you use a knife as a weapon, you will see the consequences.”
Following the verdicts, Reeces’ parents paid tribute to their 15-year-old son, who they said had a love for motorcycles and described as a ‘typical teenage boy’.
“Reece was our 15-year-old son, he made us smile, he made us laugh, he made us tear our hair at times, a typical teenage boy, but he was ours,” they said in a statement issued via Greater Manchester Police.
“Reece was simply our world, and his death has ruined us unimaginably.”
They added: “Reece had his whole life ahead of him, he had so much to look forward to, so many memories to make.
“That day, not only was Reece’s life taken, but it was also ours, the news that Reece had been killed simply drained our lives, and we will never be the same again. We will never come to terms with the futility of it all. The pain is almost physical.
“Nothing will ever bring Reece back to us, but we pray that his death is not in vain.
“Let Reeces’ death and the circumstances surrounding it be used to educate young people about the consequences of carrying knives.”
The two boys will appear in Manchester Crown Court on Monday 20 December for sentencing.
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