A ‘kind and gentle’ A-level student was stabbed to death trying to protect a friend after youths gatecrashed a party they learned about on Facebook.
Jay Whiston, 17, was knifed in the stomach outside the host’s house as he tried to stop troublemakers from stealing a friend’s mobile phone.
Violence flared when uninvited youths turned up at the detached house in an upmarket residential road and started harassing guests.
Jay was attacked as he tried to help his friend. The altercation is understood to have begun in the garden before spilling on to the street.
An ambulance was called but the teenager – who was studying law, business and IT at Tendring Technology College and had been predicted to get A grades – died in hospital.
His mother, Caroline Shearer, 47, yesterday said Jay hated bullying and violence and his attempt to defuse a fight was typical of him.
‘He was trying to protect one of his friends who was pushed by some hoodies that had gatecrashed the party and were trying to take people’s phones', she said.
'Jay went up and asked them to leave him alone.'
She added: 'He was an absolutely gentle lad who was kind and had no enemies.’
‘It’s any mother’s worst nightmare. He was loved by everyone and so caring.
‘My son had never been in trouble with the police before. He hated bullies and hated people being unfair.
‘I still feel numb but I’m starting to feel angry now. How can thugs ruin innocent lives at their will? There’s no rhyme or reason to it.
‘He had his whole life planned out. He wanted to own his own house, be a pawnbroker like his father and get married and have two little girls. Now we’ll never see that happen.’
The host’s parents were at the £450,000 four-bedroom property in Colchester to supervise the party but 200 people turned up – double the number expected – after word spread on Facebook and Twitter.
Dozens of messages were posted on Twitter hours before the killing, including one which said: ‘Huge house party in Stanway, anyone’s allowed to go.’
Another said: ‘Some geeze is having a party in Stanway and inviting everyone in Colch!’ A further posting read: ‘It was advertised all over twitter and fb [Facebook].’
Mrs Shearer, a foster carer who lived with Jay and his step-father, Michael, in Clacton, added: ‘Jay looked after every foster child we have ever had. He was never jealous. If he had a spare biscuit he would always give it to them.’
Jay’s father, Clifford Whiston, who owns premises in Clacton and Braintree, was unavailable to comment yesterday.
Violence erupted just before 10pm on Saturday at the party to mark the end of the summer holidays. It was thrown by Laura Gathercole, 15, whose father, Paul, 54, is finance director at an Audi dealership in Chelmsford.
One of the guests, Shannon Summer, 15, said: ‘We were all having a good time and then someone shouted “They’re having a fight”.
‘It was two boys on the patio at first but then others joined in and it spilled out on to the street. All I saw was when the ambulance came and he was just lying there doing nothing.
‘Laura, the host, just wanted a get-together but she didn’t want to say no to people. She let them bring their friends but it just got out of control.’
Neighbour Pam Gibson said Laura, an only child, had warned her and other homeowners about the party beforehand. ‘They are a particularly nice family,’ she added.
Floral tributes and messages were left near the scene yesterday. One boy said: ‘We didn’t even know the guy but heard about it on Facebook. The host had her parents there supervising.
‘All the smokers were outside so the party just spilled out into the street.
‘We left before anything kicked off but couldn’t believe it when we heard the news this morning.’
ay’s aunt, Debbie Hill, 48, said: ‘You used to be able to stand up to bullies but you can’t now.
They’re walking around carrying knives like a badge of honour.’
Friend Sallie Woodward, 17, added: ‘He was one of those guys that was always smiling.’