Rhys accused's bike 'hidden in bushes'

A man told the Rhys Jones trial in England today how he found a bicycle owned by alleged gunman Sean Mercer hidden in bushes on the day after the murder.

The Specialized Hardrock cycle, which was minus its wheels, was found by Lesley Shimmin four miles from the Fir Tree public house in Croxteth, Liverpool.

It was taken home by Mr Shimmin and left in his garden until February when he recognised the frame in a police appeal for information.

Prosecutors say Mercer, 18, used the bicycle to ride to the Fir Tree where he fired three shots across the car park and killed Rhys.

Mercer, of Good Shepherd Close, Croxteth, denies murder.

Mr Shimmin told the jury that last summer he was with his son and two others cycling along Arbour Lane, on Kirkby Industrial Estate, when they stumbled across the bicycle.

He said: “On the side of the road there was a bush and it was there under the bush.”

Questioned by Neil Flewitt QC, prosecuting, he said the bicycle was not “just left there” because it had been placed underneath the bush and the bush itself was behind iron bars which separated it from the road.

He said: “It was missing its wheels. It looked like an expensive bike to me.

“It was in good condition and had the word Specialized on it.”

Although Mr Shimmin could not remember the exact date he found the bike, he was shown CCTV footage of the industrial estate – recorded on August 23 last year, a day after Rhys was killed – and he said he recognised himself and his group.

They decided to take the bike home and restore it. It was later stored in Mr Shimmin’s garden until he saw a picture of a similar bike in the Liverpool Echo accompanying an appeal for information by the Rhys Jones murder investigation team.

He then contacted the incident room and handed the bicycle over to officers.

Jurors have previously been told that the serial number of this bike matches the serial number of a bicycle provided to Mercer by an insurance company after his previous one was stolen.

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