11-year-old Rhys Jones was shot through the back of the neck on August 22, 2007 as he walked home from a football training session. He died in his mother’s arms soon after. His assailant is identified only as a hoody-wearing teenager on a BMX bike. The football practice was just a few hundred yards from his home and the attack took place as he was passing the Fir Tree pub in Croxteth Park, Liverpool. The area has become caught up in gang violence.
His mother, a supermarket worker, blamed the killer’s parents for allowing someone to become capable of such a murder and hiding from the crime. Wiping away tears in a recent news interview, she said: ‘You can’t do something like this and behave normally. You will know if your son is not behaving normally... or maybe has told someone. 'I would say to them "Do the right thing. Please come forward. I know it will be hard but my son is dead and we need to bring this to an end."
She said that if he failed to do so it was up to his relatives to hand him in, voicing fears he could strike again. In an emotional plea to the killer, she said: 'Turn yourself in. How can you live with yourself? You are not going to be able to live with yourself. It’s going to be on your conscience for the rest of your life.'
She and her husband Stephen, 44, a superstore night manager, renewed their appeal for witnesses to come forward with information, no matter how seemingly trivial, about last Wednesday’s shooting.
Mrs. Jones said: 'It’s not going to bring Rhys back but we want this person caught because I really believe that he will do it again. It’s horrendous. What kind of people are they? What are their parents doing is what I want to know. They must know it’s their kid. They must know what they’re up to - or don’t they care?'
Although several youths had been detained for questioning, police released them all without charge. They are now questioning a young woman seen pushing a pram near the incident who may have seen the killer.