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Daily denied right to name killer over claim it could spark vigilante attacks

Connor DockertyA regional daily has been denied the right to name a teenage murderer after police argued his family and friends could be at risk of vigilante attacks.

A judge sided with Merseyside Police after the Liverpool Echo fought to name the 15-year-old boy who murdered young father Connor Dockerty.

The boy, known only as ‘Boy A’ in court proceedings, has been sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Mr Dockerty, pictured, after he repeatedly stabbed his victim in the chest.

But the identity of the murderer, who was just 14 when carried out the attack, will remain protected following a series of “reprisal” attacks on his family and his associates.

Another boy, ‘Boy B’, was subsequently acquitted of manslaughter in relation to the killing, which Liverpool Crown Court heard took place after Mr Dockerty had insulted his girlfriend with “unpleasant name calling”.

The Echo has now revealed a third teenager suffered life-threatening wounds just days after the murder of father-of-two Mr Dockerty, who was just 23 at the time of his death.

Echo Crown Court reporter Neil Docking asked for reporting restrictions to be lifted so Boy A could be named “in the interests of open justice and deterring further knife crime on our streets”.

In his application, Neil argued that any threat to Boy A or his family was more likely to come from those who already knew his identity, than from those who would see or hear his name reported in the media.

But, opposing the restrictions, Merseyside Police raised concerns over attacks, threats of violence and intimidation aimed at Boy A and his family, and at Boy B, his family and his girlfriend.

The force accepted Neil’s point but said the force was concerned that any wider circulation of Boy A’s name was likely to increase the likelihood of “vigilante style attacks” on him or his family.

Judge Neil Flewitt QC ruled the “public interest” was “outweighed” by “the need to safeguard the welfare” of Boy A.

The judge told the court this was bearing in mind “the safety of those closest to him” and “the public interest in the maintenance of good order within the wider community”.

Boy A was handed a life sentence, with a minimum of 14 years behind bars before he can apply for his release.