Rhys murder: police release all suspects

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Four people being questioned in connection with the murder of schoolboy Rhys Jones have been released without charge, while two more have been released on police bail, police said today.

One boy aged 15 and a man aged 19, as well as a 15-year-old girl and an 18-year-old woman were released this morning without charge.

Merseyside Police said a 16-year-old boy and a 19-year-old man had been released on bail pending further inquiries.

This means no one remains in police custody in connection with the death of the 11-year-old in Croxteth Park, Liverpool, on Wednesday.

Officers, who complained of a disappointing initial public response to the shooting, made a potentially vital breakthrough yesterday when they traced a woman who might have seen the killer minutes before he opened fire.

On Saturday, Detective Superintendent David Kelly - leading the investigation - appealed for a woman pushing a pram outside Croxteth Park's Fir Tree pub to come forward.

Yesterday, a Merseyside Police spokesman confirmed the woman had contacted detectives and was helping with the investigation.

Rhys died in the arms of his mother Melanie, 41, after being ambushed by the a hoodie on a BMX.

The Everton FC fan was shot through the neck by a bullet that has not yet been recovered.

Croxteth Park resident Emma Ahmed, 33, said the murder would not have happened if police had fulfilled a plan to situate a mobile police station on the pub's car park.

Mrs Ahmed, a solicitor who sits on the committee of the Croxteth Country Park Residents' Association, said: "We have been working for the last year to improve the estate.

"We were promised a mobile pod, a mobile police station, and it should have been here in April and would have been stationed on the car park where Rhys died but police said they didn't have the resources.

"There is no doubt in my mind he wouldn't have died if that had been there."

But Chief Inspector Bill McWilliam, head of neighbourhood policing in the Alt Valley area, said: "The force did listen to the concerns of the residents in Croxteth Park and after extensive police and partner agency consultation across the whole of the Alt Valley Neighbourhood, it was decided to launch a mobile community bus which is staffed not just by police but also by partner agencies working on crime reduction. This is to be piloted in September.

"Merseyside Police does have a mobile police station but its location is subject to immediate and competing demands from a number of communities at any one time."

Rhys's brother also made his first visit to the huge floral shrine marking the crime scene.

Owen, flanked by four friends, delivered a large bouquet and remained to pay his respects for several minutes.

The 17-year-old also delivered an Everton rug bearing the motto "The People's Club".

Placing it on the ground, he paused to look over the hundreds of bunches of flowers.

Owen, who was composed throughout yesterday's visit, was escorted with his friends back through the cordon by police officers.

Four days on since the killing, residents continued to pay their last respects at the scene.

A vicar at the centre of the community held two Sunday services offered for Rhys's family.

During his sermon the Rev Dr David Leslie said society needed to rebuild itself in the light of the murder.

He said: "In the last few days our estate has been turned upside down - we just can't get our minds around what has happened.

"It seems as if we have slipped into some bizarre parallel universe where basic rules about human beings connecting with one another have been suspended.

"What can we say or do? It has happened and we feel so powerless."

Yesterday's appeals concluded with police leafleting at the local Tesco where Mrs Jones works.