THE mother of 18-year-old Eddie O'Rourke who was killed at a birthday party in Runcorn last year has paid tribute to her 'best friend'.

Joe Ward, who turned 18 on Monday April 1, and a 15-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded not guilty to Eddie's murder.

Ward was convicted of stabbing Eddie and causing his death today, Friday April 5, following a five-week trial at Liverpool Crown Court.

The 15-year-old boy was found guilty of manslaughter.

Read how the two teenagers were found guilty >

Following the verdicts, Eddie’s mum, Jayne White, said: “There will never be words to describe the impact Eddie’s death has had on my family.

"I am a mother without her son and his three sisters and two brothers are without their older brother.

"The best thing in our lives has been taken away from us and my family have been left in turmoil.

"Eddie was not only my son but my best friend. Life without him starts now with the ultimate realisation that he will never walk through the door of his loving home again.

"The police investigation into Eddie’s death has been brilliant. They worked so hard in preparation for the court case and have been there for me with anything I have needed.

"I would especially like to thank Nigel Power QC and DI Adam Waller and all of his team, particularly Detective Constable Amanda Antrobus, our Family Liaison Officer.

"We need to get knives off our streets. My kids and I intend to do whatever we can to support the police and our community in this regard. We need a combined approach against the impact of knife crime and we all need to take responsibility.

"We as parents need to make sure that we know what our children are doing and what they are carrying around with them.

"There is never a positive outcome to knife crime, which can have life changing consequences for everyone involved.”

Runcorn and Widnes World: Eddie Eddie

Detective inspector Adam Waller, who led Cheshire Constabulary’s investigation into the fatal stabbing, said: “I would like to thank the members of the community who provided evidence to the police and acted as witnesses in the investigation.

"They played a vital role in securing the convictions and I cannot commend them enough for the bravery they have shown in testifying in such a high profile case for the Runcorn community.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all the officers and staff involved in the investigation.

“Our thoughts remain with Eddie’s family and friends as they continue to come to terms with their devastating loss.

“While his loved ones have been left heartbroken by his death, the Runcorn community as a whole have been left deeply shocked by what happened outside the Royal British Legion that night.

“For an 18-year-old man to have his life ended by the senseless actions of who were then 17 and 15-year-old boys is tragic in every sense of the word.

“It is also the ultimate example of why people shouldn’t carry knives.

“Not only has a young man died but three families have been ruined as a result of a knife being carried and used that night.

“Having been found guilty by a jury of killing Eddie, the two teenagers now face the prospect of serving significant custodial sentences.

“I hope that the verdicts give Eddie’s family some closure and enable them to begin to move forward with their lives.

“I also hope that the case deters others from carrying knives.”