'We have the life sentence,' murdered Surrey boy's mother tells court

Tara and Martin, Charlie's parents, and Charlie when he was a baby
-Credit: (Image: Cosser Family)

The mother of a teenager murdered at a party has said "we have the life sentence", as her son's killer was jailed for life.

Charlie Cosser, 17, from Milford in Surrey, was stabbed three times in the chest in a marquee in the grounds of a farmhouse at a private party attended by more than 100 people in Warnham, West Sussex, on July 23 2023.

His killer, Yura Varybrus, who was 16 at the time, was found guilty of murder and having a bladed article following a trial at Brighton Crown Court.

The courtroom on Wednesday was packed with family members as Varybrus was sentenced, and Charlie's family gave emotional statements to court on the impact Charlie's death has had on them.

The court heard that more than 700 people attended the funeral of Charlie, also known as Cheeks, who was described by his mother Tara Cosser as "calm" and "chilled". She said he had never been in a fight and "got along with everybody".

Mrs Cosser told the court about how the 17-year-old had begun an apprenticeship as a groundsman at a private school and was "loving his new adventure". He was also "so excited" about the prospect of going on his first holiday with friends to Zante, which he had been saving up for.

She added: "We have the life sentence, and Charlie has no life. No sentence will be long enough for my child's murderer. It doesn't bring Charlie back."

The mother-of-three said that before Charlie's death she was "happy" and had a "normal, happy, family life" but no longer knows what happiness feels like. Of Charlie, she added: "(The) impact of losing him will last forever. Just numbness and sadness. When I do laugh or smile, I feel so guilty. I send him a WhatsApp message every morning."

Since his death, the family have set up a charity called Charlie's Promise, dedicated to fighting knife crime across Surrey and the UK.

Charlie's father Martin Cosser told the court how the charity was set up in his memory as a promise he made to Charlie before his life support was switched off.

Undated family handout photo issued by Sussex Police of 17-year-old Charlie Cosser who died after being stabbed multiple times at an address in Warnham, West Sussex, in the early hours of Sunday, July 23 and died on Tuesday, July 25. Issue date: Thursday July 27, 2023. PA Photo. His family have paid tribute to their "cheeky" and "loving" son and brother, from Miford in Surrey, adding their lives have been destroyed after the "tragic and unnecessary" loss. The tribute comes as a 16-year-old boy from Chessington, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has been charged with murder, and possession of a bladed article. A 16-year-old girl from Horsham has also been charged with perverting the course of justice and assisting an offender. They will both appear at Crawley Magistrates' Court on Thursday, July 27. See PA story POLICE Warnham. Photo credit should read: Family handout/Sussex Police/PA Wire 

NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.

He said the charity has already raised £135,000. "How Charlie was killed haunts me and my beautiful family every minute of every day and will haunt us forever," he said. "He certainly didn't want to die, he had his whole life, so many plans, in front of him."

The grandfather said that if it was not for his other two children "I would end my life". "I must force myself to carry on when all I want to do is die," he said.

The family also spoke of how the trial has scarred them forever, and they have seen and heard "unimaginable things".

Mr Cosser said he has been diagnosed with PTSD which has been made worse from hearing details of the attack on his son, who "hated any confrontation" and "even raised voices".

Charlie's older brother Adam Cosser added: "I'm so broken like everyone else in the family that words can't describe it."

"I'd understand this more if Charlie was in a gang or had a nasty streak. He wasn't in a gang and he didn't have a nasty bone in his body."

Charlie Cosser when he was little, playing football which he loved
Family handout photo of Charlie Cosser, who was 17 years old when he died -Credit:PA

His sister Eloise, 16, told the court that Charlie was her "partner in crime since day one", adding: "He was the person who would make me snort with laughter uncontrollably. He was so many more things. He really was my first best friend."

She described the night police came knocking on the door to tell the family Charlie was in hospital, and that her brother was "so gentle and undeserving of this". Seeing him in the hospital, she said she wanted to "switch places" with him so he would not suffer.

Of the defendant, she added: "My brother was fighting for his life while he was eating a Toby Carvery meal."

The teenager also described how it has affected her ability to sit her GCSEs, instead spending weeks sitting in her brother's murder trial where she wore his favourite jumper every day.

"I feel like I'm at the darkest point in my life," she said. "I just want to be a normal teenager. I've never felt so alone."

For more news across Surrey, visit our homepage here.