The family of James Meadows gave away his organs instead of giving him presents bought for his 18th birthday.

The 17-year-old's relatives wanted to throw a party to celebrate their much-loved boy becoming a man in November 2017.

Tragically, they instead had to turn to the harrowing task of arranging James' funeral, after he was shot dead by evil gun thugs .

But the Huyton teen's death was not in vain as it led to other lives being saved, as his loved ones agreed for his organs to be donated. 

James Meadows, whose life was cut tragically short by gun thugs in October 2017, a month before his 18th birthday

Dylan Westall , 29, and Michael Roberts , 25, were cleared of James' murder, but convicted of manslaughter, after two trials.

They were both jailed for life, when Liverpool Crown Court heard statements from James' heartbroken family, including his nan.

Teresa Meadows became the legal guardian of James and his brother Gerard, now 12, when James' mum Annemarie died in 2009.

She described the horrendous impact of the events of Sunday, October 8, 2017, which left 10-year-old Gerard deeply traumatised.

The nan said: "James would have been celebrating his 18th birthday in November 2017. He had many plans with friends and the family.

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"This was a milestone birthday we were all looking forward to celebrating with him, however it's another of many birthdays we are going to miss out on, happiness and joy stripped off us, for the rest of our lives.

"Instead of planning James' 18th birthday, we took the difficult decision of donating his organs and consequently saved four people's lives, including a 10-year-old boy who received James' kidney, a 40-year-old woman who also received a kidney, and a 30-year-old man and baby girl under three, who received some of the liver."

James Meadows' coffin in Liverpool FC colours is carried into church

Ms Meadows described how James, nicknamed Froggy, was always active, loved cars and motorbikes, and "always found a way to make us laugh".

He was riding pillion passenger on a bike when shot from a stolen black Mercedes, in Lyme Cross Road, Huyton.

Ms Meadows said being told he had been shot and killed were "the most harrowing words any grandmother could hear".

She said: "Seeing James lying helplessly in hospital fighting for his life was devastating and heartbreaking.

"Both those words and images will haunt me for the remainder of my life."

Ms Meadows said some of the family had received counselling, but "no amount of therapy will remove the scars or hurt we have experienced".

His nan added: "James' death has affected his brother Gerard massively, who was 10 when it happened.

"Gerard saw James lying on the floor in a pool of blood minutes after the shooting, I remember him shouting 'James! James!' The screams will never leave me.

James Meadows, who died after an incident in Huyton, with his younger brother Gerard

"Gerard and James shared a great relationship, they weren't just brothers but best mates and James was one of the few people Gerard listened to.

"During the first trial, Gerard was so overwhelmed and traumatised by everything he escaped from school and tried to throw himself in front of a car.

"He said he didn't want to be here any more and his only wish in life was to bring James back."

James had a sister and five brothers in total, who were all "truly heartbroken", with only memories to keep hold of.

A young mourner outside the church at James Meadows' funeral

His nan said: "His older brother Lewis has just had a baby girl, James' first niece. She will never meet James and he will only ever be spoken of. This is just one event of thousands James and ourselves will be missing out on.

"To be tragically denied your grandson's future is devastating, as all my hopes and dreams for him have been shattered.

"They have not only taken away James' life and future, they have taken mine too."

Lenny and Jean Castleman, James' paternal grandparents, found it "extremely painful" to sit through two murder trials.

Jean said: "It's been over two years since we lost our grandson, but the pain and loss we suffer hurts every single day."

Tributes left at the scene in Lyme Cross Road

One of James' aunts, Leanne Privilege, was woken and told she had to rush to hospital because he had been in an accident.

She said learning it was actually a shooting and saying goodbye to him in hospital "will haunt me for the rest of my life".

Ms Privilege said: "Little reminders and memories show up that make me think of him, wondering what he would be doing now.

"Every day is hard, watching my parents grieve for their grandson. My family grieve for James and it kills me. My heart is broken."

She added: "I never got to say my goodbyes, I will never get to see his big froggy eyes, I never got the chance to tell him how much I loved him, but I will never forget him."

James Meadows, who died following an incident in Huyton, and his older brother Lewis

James' older brother Lewis said he struggled to sleep after the killing, "as I was thinking of James every minute of every day".

He said: "Being at the hospital with the whole family and hearing the doctors tell us that James didn't make it, was the hardest thing in my life, as we had grown up together, sharing everything and loving each other.

"Memories of the things we did together as kids go round and round in my head, I even dream of James."

Lewis told the court he had recently become a dad to a beautiful baby girl, whom James would have adored.

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He said: "This has been take away from him and my baby girl won't have an uncle around whilst she is growing up.

"I will keep James' memory alive and when the time is right I will tell her all about him.

"James, my brother, you were taken away from us when you were too young. I'll always think of you."