Police make birthday appeal over shot boy

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The Independent Online

Police appealed for fresh help in catching the killers of Jessie James who was shot dead in a Manchester park on what would have been his 18th birthday.

James was shot three times while cycling with friends through Broadfield park in the Moss Side area of Manchester in September 2006. He was 15 at the time.

Detectives said they believed the shooting could have been gang-related but James had nothing to do with gangs and was probably the victim of mistaken identity.

"Today should be a day of celebration for Jessie's family but instead they will be reminded of their tragic loss," said Detective Superintendent Jane Antrobus.

"Since losing Jessie, his family have been desperate for his killers to be found. However, despite a lot of hard work from my officers, his killers have not yet been brought to justice."

An inquest into his death was unusually held in a criminal court to protect witnesses afraid of reprisals and police promised to protect those who came forward with information.

"In recent weeks we've seen a number of gang members taken off the streets thanks to evidence given by protected witnesses. We can offer all kinds of support to people who are prepared to come forward with information," Antrobus said.