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Who murdered Rhys Jones, what was the Croxteth Crew and what is Sean Mercer’s family background?

ON A fateful day in August 2007, footie-mad Rhys Jones was killed.

The 11-year-old was struck in the back with a bullet, with his death sparking a huge police investigation that lasted months.

But who killed the schoolboy? Why?

Rhys Jones was killed aged 11 in 2007 on his way home from football practice
Rhys Jones was killed aged 11 in 2007 on his way home from football practice
PA:Press Association

Who murdered Rhys Jones?

Rhys Jones was shot in the back on August 22, 2007, as the Liverpool boy walked home from footie practise.

Three shots were fired, with the little boy fatally struck by one of the bullets.

Sean Mercer was found guilty of the murder of the schoolboy
Sean Mercer was found guilty of the murder of the schoolboy
PA:Press Association

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 mere minutes before the shooting.

Hundreds of police officers worked to solve the case
Hundreds of police officers worked to solve the case
Rex Features

Why was Rhys killed?

Mercer’s “Crocky Crew” were involved in a tit-for-tat turf war with the Strand Gang, aka the “Nogga Dogz”, from the neighbouring Norris Green 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 Crocky Crew 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 in the back.

None of his intended targets were hit.

What is the Croxteth Crew?

The gang's name became synonymous with the death of 11-year-old Rhys Jones after the schoolboy was gunned down in a pub car park on his way home from football practise.

The gang had formed in 1988, with their turf war seeing 27 people killed.

More than 250 people were also wounded in just five years.

Sean Mercer was a leading member of the crew, having been lying in wait for an opposing gang member when he fired three shots - with one hitting Rhys in the back.

What is Sean Mercer's family background?

There is a history of murder in the family tree of Sean Mercer.

In 1929, the great-great grandfather of Sean Mercer slit his wife's throat.

The man had accused his wife of having an affair and was hanged for his crime two months later, the Daily Mail reported.

Sean's father was also involved in a high-profile shooting.

What is Little Boy Blue and when it is on?

Little Boy Boy is a new ITV drama which follows the fight to bring the killers of 11-year-old Rhys Jones to justice.

The series tells how Sean Mercer and his associates were tracked down by detectives and prosecuted in the courts.

Kelly will be played by Jack McMullen.

Episode one shows how Rhys’s tragic death occurred and looks at how the police went about gathering evidence to ensure a successful conviction.

Little Boy Blue begins on ITV on Monday April 24, with the first of four one-hour episodes starting at 9pm.

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