The tragic 11 year old Rhys died instantly...when he innocently wandered into a Gunman's line of fire as he allegedly shot at rivals across The Fir Tree pub car park, in a bitter 'Gang' fued. CCTV footage of Rhys' last moments was played to the Court, showing the three-second footage of him turning towards a metal container that had just been hit by a 'bullet!' A fraction of a second later he is seen droping to the ground as the next bullet struck him in the neck. A third bullet thuds in a stone wall. He was shot on his way home from football training in Liverpool last year. 16 year old Sean Mercer denies murdering the youngster.
Rhys Jones's distraught mother Melanie fled the Court in tears as she witnessed her Son's killing...the images too harrowing to endure. Husband and father, Stephen stayed to watch impassively as the security footage of his son's dying moments were shown...a gasp could be heard from the jury box.
Neil Flewitt QC - Prosecution Counsel, claims the shots were fired by 16 year old Sean Mercer from a Smith & Wesson .455 revolver..."At almost exactly the same time as Rhys Jones walked on to the car park, the hooded gunman on a bicycle approached the scene.
"The gunman fired a total of three shots across the car park. One of those shots hit Rhys Jones in the neck and killed him.
"The gunman is seen standing astride his bicycle with both hands stretched out in front of him as if aiming his gun across the car park in the direction of the container.
"He then makes three distinct movements as if recoiling from the force of firing his weapon.
"It is the prosecution case that the Defendant, Sean Mercer, was the person who fired that fatal shot.
"It is the prosecution case that Rhys was the innocent victim of a long running feud between rival 'Gangs' operating in the area."
This terrible loss of life to the scurge of 'Gangs' is another example of the tentacles of violent crime touching the lives of ordinary people...Everton fan Rhys' young life cut short as he was caught up in a row between the Croxteth's Crocky Crew and the nearby Norris Green's Strand Gang, also known as the Nogga Dogs. Mr. Flewitt said there had been more that 70 incidents involving the rival factions, which included tit-for-tat shootings.
The Gangs...hate is one of the main ingredients that fuels the violence between the two north Liverpool Gangs. During the early hours of New Year's Day 2004 a leader of the Crocky Crew was gunned down. No one was ever charged with the murder of Danny McDonald...although, it was widely reputed that his killer was the Strand Gang boss Liam Smith. Smith...whose Nogga Dogs gang members hail from Norris Green, was shot dead outside Altcourse Prison Merseyside, 23rd August, 2006. He had been visiting a friend inside when an enemy gang member spotted him and made a call to set-up a hit!
Quickly, Crocky Crew gangsters were on the scene and 'Smith' was blasted in the head. Three men were later convicted of Murder and one for Manslaughter.
The unthinkable torture that has been thrust upon the parents of young Rhys is set to continue, as the Trial proceeds...
Today...Tuesday, 16th December, 2008 after an eleven week Trial, and to the relief of everyone that has followed this terrible story of an innocent little boy's life stolen so cruelly by a heartless teenager, finally sees a 'Guilty' verdict. 18 year old Sean Mercer (16 years old at the time of the Murder) now stands a good chance of being locked away in Prison for longer than he's been alive! There will be doubtless little sympathy for him in his final Life Sentence Tariff of 22 years before he can apply for Parole. Mercer...showed nothing but 'contempt' with no remorse for his crime, not before being arrested and charged nor during the Trial.
Six others have been Sentenced for their part in the conspiracy to pervert the course of Justice.
Rhys Jones was shot and killed on the 22nd August, 2007...his parents have endured the unthinkable pain and wait for Justice for 16 months...their sentence in the loss of Rhys is a 'life Sentence'...may God grant them some 'Peace' now the Trial is over...
Rhys' Father, Stephen wrote a Poem called 'Football in Heaven' as a dedication to his Son...RIP Rhys Jones. You can read this Poem and hear it read by Stephen on the 'Poems & Verses' page.
To hear the Children from Schools in Norris Green and Croxteth sing 'A Voice of One'...for more information: www.yourethevoice.org.uk
Street Gangs Fuelling Fear... http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7774891.stm
Doctors 'must report Knife Crime'...Doctors in the UK should tell Police every time they treat a Victim of Gun and Knife Crime. New guidelines from the General Medical Council effective from 12th October, 2009: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8276609.stm
A Mother's Double Shock...20 year old Jamie Turpin appeared at the Old Bailey on the 11th December, 2006 charged with Murder of Tommy Jones on the lst September, 2006...
Update: Trial Adjourned read more here.