Rhys Jones brutal murder 15 years after his parents lives were ripped apart

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Today is the 15th anniversary of Rhys Jones' death after he was killed by thugs in the middle of a gang feud.

He was an innocent victim of senseless violence, with his death shocking the nation back in 2007.

It all happened when 11-year-old Rhys was walking home after football practice in August of that year.

In the moments after his murder, the gang members attempted to cover up their horrendous crime.

It happened in the city of Liverpool, with thousands paying their respects to Rhys and his family over a decade later.

What happened to Rhys Jones?

Rhys was shot and killed on August 22, 2007 when he was walking home after football practice through the car park of the Fir Tree Pub in Croxteth.

An avid Everton fan, Rhys regularly played the sport but during his walk home three bullets were fired.

One of those three fatally struck him.

Moments later, his mother rushed to the scene of the crime as soon as she heard what had happened.

What happened to Rhys Jones’ killers?

There were 11 people involved with the murder of Rhys, with Sean Mercer ultimately charged with his murder.

As a member of the Croxteth Crew gang, he was given a life sentence with a minimum of 22 years in prison.

He was 18 years old at the time, though he wasn’t the only person who faced jail time.

Other gang members, including James Yates, Nathan Quinn, Melvin Coy, Dean Kelly and Gary Kays, were also convicted of assisting Mercer.

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There was an attempted cover-up, as Yates assisted Mercer with hiding Rhys’ bike, clothes and the murder weapon.

Mercer’s gang, known as the Crocky Crew, were in the middle of a turf war with their rival Strand Gang, known as Nogga Dogz.

Three members of the Strand Gang were reportedly seen in the area, leading Mercer to rush out to confront them.

This led to the three bullets being fired that day, though between the years of 2004 and 2007 over 20 reports of gunfire had been made.

What happened to Rhys Jones’ parents?

Today, Rhys’ parents Steve and Melanie are still together, with the couple being married for 35 years after meeting in 1982.

They briefly split following Rhys' death, as they were struggling to deal with their individual grief.

Speaking to Sunday People, a source said: “It was obviously a traumatic time for Steve and Mel. It took its toll.”

Their breakup happened shortly after the court case came to a close, though the pair eventually came back stronger, according to the source.

In an interview on ITV’s This Morning in 2018, Steve said: “We both felt like we were going in different directions.”

Melanie added: “There will always be someone missing from our family.”

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