Rhys murder accused asked witness to change story, court told

The teenager accused of the murder of Rhys Jones asked a key prosecution witness to change her story, a court heard today.

Tape recordings of a bug placed at the home of Boy M, one of the co-defendants of Sean Mercer, 18, were played at Liverpool Crown Court.

Boy M’s grandmother had earlier given evidence to the jury to say that she saw Mercer and others at her home on the night Rhys Jones was killed.

Mercer denies murder and claims he was elsewhere that Wednesday night.

The bug was placed in the home of Boy M, 16, after he had been arrested and his relatives had given statements to police.

During the grandmother’s cross-examination by Tim Clarke, defending Boy M, several recordings were played which appeared to show attempts to get the grandmother to change her mind about the day of Mercer’s visit.

In one, a voice which Mr Clark says is Sean Mercer, says to the grandmother: “You have to say it was Tuesday.”

The grandmother replied: “I’m not saying it was Tuesday.”

The male voice says again: “(Because) you’ve got it completely f****** wrong. You better change it.

“F****** hell, why can’t you? (Say) you’ve got a bad memory.”

The grandmother replied: “I’m not changing. I’ve signed the statement. My mind’s gone.”

In another recording, from a later date, the grandmother is heard recounting events to an unknown person.

She said: “I said (to Mercer), if you haven’t done it you’ve got nothing to worry about. I don’t know what all this lying is about.

“He said, ’I know, I know’, but he went white.”

Rhys bled to death in his mother Melanie’s arms following the shooting on August 22 last year.

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

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.

Alongside Mercer in the dock are James Yates, aged 20, of Dodman Road, Croxteth, Nathan Quinn, of Wickett Close, Croxteth, and Gary Kays, aged 25, of Mallard Close, and Melvin Coy, aged 24, of Abbeyfield Drive, both West Derby, Liverpool, who are accused of assisting an offender with Boy M, aged 16, and Boy K, aged 17, who cannot be identified.

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