Mother of Rhys Jones killer jailed for three years

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The mother of the teenager who murdered schoolboy Rhys Jones was jailed for three years today for lying to police during their investigation.

Janette Mercer, 49, had pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice at a hearing at Liverpool Crown Court in February.

Mercer, from Croxteth in Liverpool, had backed her son when he told police he owned a black and cream mountain bike, not the silver bicycle captured on CCTV footage of the shooting of 11-year-old Rhys in August 2007.

Her son Sean Mercer, 18, was jailed for life in December for killing the schoolboy who died after being shot in the neck as he walked home from football practice across a Liverpool pub car park.

"Your son was a key suspect in the murder and you knew he had told a pack of lies," Judge Henry Globe told her, as Rhys's parents Stephen and Melanie Jones sat in the court to hear the sentencing,

"You backed him up and you told more lies," the judge added, the Press Association reported.

Sean Mercer, a member of the Crocky Crew gang, had been aiming at members of a rival group, Norris Green's Strand Gang.

After the shooting, Mercer cycled to the home of a 16-year-old boy where he hatched a cover-up plot with the help of six other Crocky Crew members to get rid of his clothing, bike and gun.

Also sentenced were Francis and Marie Yates, the parents of Sean Mercer's co-accused James Yates, who both pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice.

Both were given 18 month sentences for destroying their son's mobile phone SIM card. Francis Yates, 49, was given an additional three years for helping establish a false alibi for his son.