A 12-year-old boy blew a kiss to his mother as he made his first appearance in court accused of murder.
The slight youngster was one of four boys who appeared at Oldham Magistrates’ Court to face the charge that they murdered Bradley Moore on July 27.
Police were first called shortly before 10.50pm last Wednesday to an assault, which reportedly began outside McDonald’s in Warrington Street in the centre of Ashton-under-Lyne, Tameside.
Officers attended and discovered an injured man in his 40s who was taken to hospital, where he died in the early hours of Thursday.
In an unbroken voice, the 12-year-old confirmed his name, age, date of birth and address.
His co-defendants, aged 16, 16 and 17, also confirmed their details as they stood in the dock flanked by prison officers.
The youngest defendant, wearing a blue top and grey sweater, bowed his head as he faced the bench of magistrates. He stood nearest to the public gallery and was noticeably smaller in stature than his co-defendants.
At the end of the hearing – which lasted a little over five minutes – he pursed his lips and blew a kiss to his mother sitting in the public gallery as he was led from the dock.
The mothers of all four defendants were in court, with a number of them tearful, while the father of one of the 16-year-olds also attended.
All of the youngsters, who cannot be named for legal reasons, gave local addresses except one who said he did not have one.
Chair of the bench Richard Rigby said the case was so serious that it had to be sent to a crown court as he remanded the defendants in custody.
A further hearing will take place on Monday at Manchester Crown Court at 2pm.
Formal identification of the victim is yet to take place.