A grieving mother says her life has been ‘destroyed’ after her son was brutally murdered.
Sylvia Mitchell has spoken publicly for the first time about the death of 21-year-old Billy Livesley.
He was attacked with a metal bar on a car park on Bickershaw Lane, Abram, on December 28 and died the following day.
Billy had gone there to meet an associate, but a passing van carrying a group of men pulled up and the fatal assault ensued.
David Connors, 26, was jailed for life last month and must serve at least 17 years before being eligible for parole.
His brother Peter Connors, 32, was acquitted of both murder and an alternative charge of manslaughter.
Now Miss Mitchell, from Platt Bridge, has spoken about her beloved Billy, whom she describes as having had “a heart of gold”.
She said: “Billy was a young, loving child. He played football, he played rugby. I have got trophies and medals. He was a good kid.”
As he got older, Miss Mitchell said, he would buy ice creams and a paddling pool for children on his estate, played football with them and gave £20 to a homeless man.
Miss Mitchell said she was “heartbroken” when she was told at Salford Royal Hospital that Billy was brain dead.
Doctors said he had suffered a serious brain injury and his life support machine was turned off on the evening on December 29, with his family at his side.
Billy’s death left not just his family, but many other people, in mourning, with thousands turning out for his funeral to say goodbye.
Miss Mitchell said: “Our Billy was one in a million. Everyone in the community is heartbroken about our Billy being killed.”
The sudden death has, of course, been particularly tragic for his mother, her two older sons and her grandchildren.
She does not work, cannot eat or sleep and has even tried to take her own life.
The 46-year-old said: “It has completely destroyed my life. I don’t leave the house, I’m on medication I have never been on before, I suffer from anxiety and depression.
“It’s made me really, really poorly. There are only two places I go - that’s home and the cemetery.”
She says one of her sons and her grandson find it difficult to visit her home now, as Billy is not there.
“My home is like a ghost town. I’m used to it being really lively with my children and grandchildren and now it’s me on my own,” she said.
“I really miss him so much. He was the youngest and the only one living at home with me. I go past his bedroom every day.”
Billy was “over the moon” at the news he was to become a father with his girlfriend of two and a half years Leah Galvin, she said, and would have been “the best dad ever”.
Billy Junior - named in honour of the father he will never meet - was born earlier this month.
Miss Mitchell said: “My grandson is going to grow up without his dad. We have got to explain - me and Leah - have to explain to that child.”
With the trial over, Miss Mitchell says she wants to be left alone to grieve and does not want any contact from the Connors family or any repercussions.
She questioned Peter Connors’ suspicion that a petrol bomb thrown at the caravan site where he lives in Bamfurlong was linked to her son’s death, as reported by the Wigan Post last week.
She also said she asked the police to arrange for graffiti aimed at the travelling community to be removed earlier this year.
“I didn’t want reminding of what happened to my son,” she said.
Miss Mitchell is now calling for changes to the justice system when murder cases are being dealt with.
“The law needs changing. It needs people in murder trials who have studied law. You shouldn’t have people with no knowledge of the law on the jury,” she said.