Page last updated at 14:55 GMT, Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Timeline: Rhys Jones investigation

Map showing Croxteth and Norris Green

Schoolboy Rhys Jones was a few hundred yards from his house on his walk home from football training when he was shot in Croxteth, Liverpool, in August 2007.

Sean Mercer, 18, of Good Shepherd Close, Croxteth, has been found guilty of his murder.

This is a summary of key events in the case.

22 August 2007: 1840 BST - Sean Mercer is at the home of Dean Kelly in Sword Walk, Croxteth, when he receives a telephone call from Melvin Coy.

1908 BST - A second call is made to Mercer by Gary Kays. Both calls are to tell him that rival Wayne Brady is outside the Fir Tree pub.

Mercer and Kelly leave Sword Walk, and Mercer goes to get a gun from James Yates, before riding to the Fir Tree pub on his bike, intending to shoot at Wayne Brady or his friends.

Mercer rides out from behind the pub, fires three shots, and rides off.

1928 BST - Rhys, who is crossing the pub's car park, hears the sound of the first bullet, turns, and is struck by the second.

He falls to the ground, and dies shortly afterwards.

Mercer rides to Boy M's house in Croxteth.

His bike is left there and later collected by an unnamed youth to nearby fields. It is taken to Mercer's house and stripped of its wheels. At some point later it is dumped on waste ground in Kirkby.

James Yates and Nathan Quinn arrive at Boy M's house.

2000 BST - A 17-year-old known as Boy X, who was given immunity from prosecution in return for his testimony, also arrives at the house and Mercer hands him the murder weapon, a Smith and Wesson .455 revolver.

It is then hidden under blankets in a dog kennel at Boy X's home.

Coy and Kays arrive at Boy M's house in a people carrier. They pick up Mercer and Quinn and drive to a lock-up in Kirkby.

There they help wash Mercer in petrol, to get rid of gunshot residue, before burning his clothes.

23 August 2007: Mercer's bike is found - without its wheels - by a member of the public on waste ground in Kirkby.

Leslie Shimmin takes it home, unaware that it is a key part of evidence in the Rhys murder investigation.

When he realises the significance of his find, he hands the bike into police.

24 August 2007: Bugging devices are placed inside the homes of suspects James Yates and boy M.

25 August 2007: Police make several arrests in connection with the inquiry. One of those is Sean Mercer, who is released pending further inquiries.

27 August 2007 - Kelly arrives at the house where the gun has been hidden, removes it from the kennel and hides it in the loft.

Melanie Jones appeals to her son's killer to "turn yourself in".

29 August 2007: A week on from the shooting, Merseyside Police stop cars in Croxteth and appeal for the driver of a red car to come forward.

Boy M is arrested and later bailed by police.

4 September: Nathan Quinn is arrested and later released on bail.

6 September: Thousands of mourners attend Rhys's funeral at Liverpool's Anglican Cathedral.

11 September 2007: An industrial unit in Kirkby, belonging to Melvin Coy, is searched.

Police find two petrol canisters and a white van locked inside the building, which also contains another petrol canister.

26 September: Police release CCTV footage of the suspected killer on a mountain bike.

30 September 2007: Police recover a Smith and Wesson .455 revolver from the loft of Boy X's house in Croxteth.

6 November: Merseyside Chief constable Bernard Hogan-Howe says he is confident his officers know the identity of the killer.

29 January 2008: Mercer is arrested on separate firearms charges and bailed 48 hours later.

8 February: Detective Superintendent Dave Kelly says he is confident the killer will be brought to justice.

April 2008: Boy X is given immunity from prosecution and gives a statement to police.

15 April 2008: Merseyside Police arrests 11 people in dawn raids in connection with the inquiry.

16 April 2008: Six others are arrested by murder detectives.

Sean Mercer, then 17, is charged with murdering Rhys.

Gary Kayes, 25, and Melvyn Coy, 24, James Yates, 20, all of Croxteth, and three youths, aged 15, 16 and 17, are charged with assisting an offender.

2 October 2008: Rhys Jones murder trial begins at Liverpool Crown Court.

15 December 2008: Mercer found guilty of murder at Liverpool Crown Court.



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