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Last Updated: Thursday, 23 August 2007, 21:26 GMT 22:26 UK
Shot boy's parents speak of loss
Melanie and Stephen Jones

The parents of an 11-year-old boy who was shot dead on his way home have begged for help in finding his killers.

Rhys Jones was shot by a youth on a BMX bicycle at a pub car park in Croxteth, Liverpool, on Wednesday evening.

Melanie Jones has described how she cradled her dying son outside the pub. Rhys's father Stephen said the couple had "lost their world".

Police have bailed two youths arrested in connection with the murder and are now looking for a youth aged 13 to 15.

'Good guy'

Speaking at a news conference, Rhys's mother said: "Our son was only 11, our baby. This should not happen, this should not be going on. Please help us."

"We have lost our world, the world has lost a good guy," Mr Jones said.

He was a very bright and sensible lad
Melanie Jones, mother

"He was football-mad, absolutely football-mad, a season ticket holder with me and his brother.

"We go to every home match and they looked forward to it.

"Football was his life. If he wasn't watching it, he was playing it. If he wasn't on the PC playing it, he was on the Xbox playing it. He saved his pocket money for his kit."

Both parents said they believed that someone knew who had killed their son.

His mother was not aware of any guns on the estate.

Rhys Jones
Rhys Jones lived nearby with his family

"He had a thing in school about guns, the police went in. He was very aware of that, he was a very bright and sensible lad," she said.

Rhys's football coach was the first to contact Mrs Jones over the shooting.

She was then driven to the scene and found her son lying on his back unconscious.

She said she held him in her arms, but could not speak to him.

"He didn't come round. He was lying there in a pool of blood," she said.

"They tried for an hour and a half to resuscitate him, but his little body couldn't take it.

"Our whole family is devastated."

Empty seat

Mr Jones said at first he thought his son had been hit by a pellet gun.

He explained he was on his way to work a night shift when he was called with the news.

Rhys was a season ticket holder at Everton, Mr Jones said.

He thought his son would want him to go to this weekend's game, but Mrs Jones said she could not bear to go and see an empty seat.

Relatives, friends and neighbours gathered at a vigil for Rhys at Emmaus Church of England and Catholic School Primary School in Croxteth, on Thursday evening.

It is just yards away from where the Everton fan was shot on his way home from football training.

'Senseless crime'

Mary Kelly, 42, whose son, Liam, 16, was also shot dead in Liverpool in 2004, attended the event and said it "was a lovely idea to mark a very well-liked little boy's life."

The Merseyside Assistant Chief Constable Simon Byrne, appealed for people to help the inquiry.

"I think anyone listening to the heartfelt plea from the parents who've lost lovely Rhys can't be failed to be touched by the emotion and senselessness of this crime," he said.

"I would appeal to people watching this, if you know who the killer is, again, turn them in quickly, there's no place for silence."


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Friends of Rhys Jones pay tribute to 'a great lad'



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