Page last updated at 16:11 GMT, Monday, 13 October 2008 17:11 UK

Rhys trial told of suspect threat

Rhys Jones
Rhys Jones was shot in the neck as he crossed a car park

The teenager accused of murdering Rhys Jones had previously told a girl the alleged target for the shooting was going to "get it", a court has heard.

Rhys, 11, was shot in Croxteth Park, Liverpool, last August after getting in the way of an alleged gang war.

The prosecution claims Sean Mercer, 18, shot at alleged gang member Wayne Brady but accidentally hit Rhys. Mr Mercer denies murder at Liverpool Crown Court.

A 16-year-old girl said Mr Mercer had once told her: "[Brady's] getting it."

The prosecution claims Mr Mercer, of Good Shepherd Close, Croxteth, was a member of the Croxteth Crew gang and fired three shots at alleged members of rival group, the Strand Gang.

Rhys accused 'made threat'

The jury has been told the second bullet hit Rhys as he made his way across a pub car park on his way home from football practice.

The 16-year-old girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was giving evidence in court from behind a curtain to protect her identity.

When she was asked by Neil Flewitt QC, for the prosecution, if Mr Mercer explained his words, she said: "No. This was years ago, he was just messing, winding me up."

She said Mr Mercer and Mr Brady had once been friends but stopped speaking, although she did not know why.

'Never happened'

The girl said she never mentioned to Mr Brady, or anybody who knew him, what she had been told by Mr Mercer.

Richard Pratt QC, defending Mr Mercer, said his client had no memory of the reported conversation and put it to the girl that it never happened.

She replied that it did.

The jury was told of a third gang, the Stand Farm Heads, based on the Croxteth Park Estate.

The 16-year-old girl who was at the Fir Tree Pub when Rhys was killed said Kevin Davies, 19 - another alleged member of the Strand Gang and target of the gunman - said following Rhys's shooting: "It is about time one of you Stand Farm Heads got shot."

Another witness, Vicky Smart, 19, a former girlfriend of Wayne Brady, told the court that during her relationship with him her home had been shot at and her family had to leave Croxteth.

Asked why she thought her home had been targeted by a gunman, she said: "I think it was because of my ex (Brady). Not many people like him."

Six others face charges alongside Mr Mercer.

James Yates, 20, of Dodman Road, Croxteth; Mr Kays, of Mallard Close, and Mr Coy, of Abbeyfield Drive, both West Derby, Liverpool, are accused of assisting an offender.

Two youths aged 16 and 17, who can only be identified as Boy M and Boy Q, also deny the same charge.

A sixth person, a 17-year-old known as Boy K, denies assisting an offender and possessing an illegal firearm and ammunition.

The trial continues.

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