A 17-year-old youth who pulled out a knife and stabbed a much loved Sheffield man to death at a party on the Manor has today been found guilty of his murder.
Jimmy John James Connors, reached into his tracksuit bottoms and pulled out a kitchen knife which he used to stab 23-year-old Joe Walker.
Joe, from Hollybank Close, Intake, was stabbed in the back and collapsed at the scene on Raynald Road, Manor, last September.
He was then kicked, stamped and jumped on by a group of boys and girls, Sheffield Crown Court heard.
Jurors took just three hours this afternoon to find Connors guilty of Joe’s murder.
Joe’s friends and family, who were sitting in the public gallery, cheered as the guilty verdict was announced.
Many of his supporters then burst into tears.
Connors, of Atherton Road, Arbourthorne, Sheffield, had claimed he got into a fight with Joe, somebody put a knife in his hand during the brawl and he just lashed out with it.
But the jury rejected his claims.
Today, following his conviction, the judge lifted a reporting restriction banning the media from identifying the killer.
Joe lived with his parents Karen Foulstone and Paddy Walker and worked as a construction handyman.
He also has a sister Shannen and an older brother Jack.
Speaking exclusively to The Star, Karen and Paddy said their lives would never be the same again without Joe.
Paddy said: “I used to hear Joe and his mum laughing all the time. Now it’s just so quiet.”
The family say they have been overwhelmed by the kindness shown to them by relatives, supporters and Joe’s friends.
Over 1,000 people attended Joe’s funeral and his friends have organised various events including a charity football tournament in his memory.
“They are keeping his memory alive,” said Paddy.
“We can’t thank them enough, from the bottom of our hearts.”
Connors will be sentenced tomorrow.