Page last updated at 17:12 GMT, Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Parents of murdered Liverpool cadet 'feared war'

Joseph Lappin

The parents of an Army cadet who was knifed through the heart say they feared him going to war, without ever thinking he would be killed in his home city of Liverpool.

Sixteen-year-old Joseph Lappin was murdered after being attacked by a gang of 10 youths and men outside a youth club in Everton in October 2008.

James Moore, 17, has been jailed for a minimum of 17 years after admitting his murder while nine others have been jailed after admitting conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm.

Joseph's parents, John and Toni Lappin, said in a statement: "He had planned his life out and was waiting on his start date for the Army, something he had always wanted to do.

"We tried to dissuade him from joining up, worried about the dangers he would be exposing himself to, but he wouldn't be deterred and we had to accept his decision.

'No winners'

"How ironic that he was murdered in his home town, not defending his country, and by the very people he was prepared to put his life at risk to protect."

John and Toni Lappin
John and Toni Lappin tried to dissuade Joseph from joining the Army

Mr and Mrs Lappin described their son's killing as "senseless" and said they hoped the sentences would send out "a strong message".

They added: "But there is also an overwhelming feeling of sadness, not only for the loss of Joseph but also for the waste of the lives of the young men who have today been sentenced and the effects of this on their families.

"There are no winners despite the convictions."

The couple said their son had even told friends what kind of funeral he wanted.

Signed coffin

The cadet's parents altered plans for him to be cremated because Joseph privately told his friends he wanted a burial and his coffin to be signed by all friends.

He told them that in case he was killed in combat.

James Moore
James Moore stabbed Joseph through the heart

He added: "Now we need to come to terms with what happened to our Joseph, who we will love always and remember always, and try to rebuild our lives without him."

Mr Lappin hit out at what he saw as the leniency shown to Moore by the judicial system.

The teenager had "repeatedly" breached an Anti Social Behaviour Order (Asbo) for terrorising his neighbours, the court was told.

Mr Lappin said: "Once he breached his Asbo the first time, he should have been brought to task.

"They always seem to let them off, which is so annoying."

Mrs Lappin said that if Moore had been made to answer for "more minor crimes", Joseph might not have been murdered.

"And maybe we wouldn't be here today," she said.

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