ON a tragic afternoon in August 2007, Everton-mad Rhys Jones was gunned down in a crime which shocked the nation.
The 11-year-old was struck in the neck with a bullet and his death sparked a huge police investigation which lasted months.
Who was Rhys Jones?
Everton fan Rhys was shot on August 22, 2007, as he walked home from football practice through the car park of the Fir Tree Pub in Croxteth.
Three shots were fired, with the little boy fatally struck by one of the bullets.
One struck Rhys in the back and his distraught mother Melanie rushed to the scene when she heard what had happened.
Who murdered Rhys?
More than 300 officers worked on the murder investigation, with 11 people ultimately arrested over the murder.
Half a dozen more people were arrested the next day.
Sean Mercer, a member of the Croxteth Crew gang, was charged with murder with the then 18-year-old sentenced to life behind bars with a minimum of 22 years.
Fellow gang members, including James Yates, Nathan Quinn, Melvin Coy, Dean Kelly and Gary Kays were also convicted of assisting an offender.
As Rhys lay dying Yates helped Mercer dispose of his bike, clothes and the gun he had provided him with just before the shooting.
Why was he killed?
Mercer’s “Crocky Crew” were involved in a tit-for-tat turf war with the Strand Gang, aka the “Nogga Dogz”, from the estate.
There had been more than 20 reports of shots from cars or bikes between 2004 and 2007.
On the day of the fatal shooting, Mercer was told three members of the rival gang had been seen on their territory.
Mercer raced to the location on his BMX, armed with the Smith & Wesson .455 revolver from the First World War.
He fired three shots. The second of which hit Rhys.
None of his intended targets were hit, and the motive behind the attack has still not been established.
Who were the Croxteth Crew and the Strand Gang?
The gangs' names became synonymous with the death of 11-year-old Rhys.
The Croxteth Crew had formed in 1988, with the resulting turf war with their deadly rivals leaving 27 dead.
More than 250 people were also wounded in just five years.
Sean Mercer was a leading member of the crew.
The Strand Gang hailed from the Norris Green district of Liverpool.
In 2007, there were more than 70 incidents of criminal damage between the warring groups – with thugs and their houses being shot at.
Several key figures from both sides have either been jailed or killed, but for almost a decade the Croxteth Crew and Strand Gang caused misery within the hard-working communities on the frontline of a sometimes deadly rivalry.
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