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A teenager stabbed a younger boy to death after catching him in bed with his drunken mother.

Matthew Briers, 18, killed John Marsh, 15, because he thought his mother, Karen Bradshaw, had been raped.

Horrified by the discovery, Briers flew into a rage and attacked John – but the younger boy managed to escape to his grandmother’s house nearby.

Later, John, joined by a group of others, returned to Briers’s home in St Helens, Merseyside, to confront him and his mother over the rape claim, over which no formal complaint was ever made.

Briers initially remained inside the property and ignored their taunts. But he was sparked into action when he saw his drunken mother being beaten up, grabbing a knife from the kitchen before going out to “frighten” the group.At some point during the melee, Briers stabbed John, a talented rugby player.

Later, he told police: “I stabbed him because he was raping my mum.” Yesterday, at Liverpool Crown Court, Judge Mr Justice Burnett ordered Briers to serve five years in a Young Offenders’ Institute. But he conceded that the teenager had suffered a “loss of self-control” after genuinely believing his mother had been attacked and there was a “significant degree of provocation” to the manslaughter.

Mr Justice Burnett told Briers: “At the time you stabbed him, I am satisfied your loss of self control stemmed from a combination of the earlier events and the immediate circumstances confronting you when your mother, worse the wear for drink, was set upon.” But John’s father, John Marsh Snr, blasted the court sentence as ‘a farce’.

He said: “That is not a sentence – he will be out in less than two-and-a-half years. You will get more for robbing lead. I cannot believe it – that is how long my son’s life is worth.

“It is no wonder the jails are full to bursting – that is no deterrent. It is hardly going to stop people going out with knives. It is a joke.” Mr Marsh Snr also slammed Briers’ mother for going to bed with his 15-year-old son.

Briers, of St Helens, Merseyside, was originally charged with murder on November 21 last year, but on the third day of his trial prosecutors accepted a plea to the lesser charge of manslaughter.

They took the decision after witness evidence supported Briers’ defence of provocation.

Mr Justice Burnett said he accepted there were “tragic and unusual circumstances” On the night of the killing, Briers’ 13-year-old brother told him there was a man in bed with his mother. When Briers later went to check on her, knowing she had a drink problem, he was horrified to discover John in bed with her.