Timeline of events in Rhys investigation

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The Independent Online

Here is a timeline of events since the murder of Rhys Jones.

22 August: Rhys Jones, 11, is shot dead outside the Fir Tree pub in Croxteth, Liverpool, as he walked home from football practice with two friends.



23 August: Taxi driver Leslie Shimmin, on a cycle ride with his young son, found the frame of a Specialized Hardrock mountain bike partially hidden in a small piece of overgrown wasteland on Arbour Lane, Kirkby. The spot is less than 250 metres from Coy's lock-up.



24 August: Bugging devices placed in the homes of suspects James Yates and Boy M.



25 August: Residents in and around Croxteth and Norris Green were already naming Mercer as the gunman. He was arrested along with Dean Kelly and James Yates but bailed soon afterwards. Everton players and fans paid tribute to Rhys with a minute's applause at the home game with Blackburn Rovers.



26 August: Dean Kelly went to the home of Boy X and moved the murder weapon from the dog kennel to the loft space. He also placed a second gun and ammunition in the loft.



27 August: Melanie Jones appealed to her son's killer to "turn yourself in" and, heads bowed, Everton players laid a floral tribute, football boots and football shirts at the scene of the shooting.



28 August: Liverpool football fans paid tribute to Rhys and his family before a European match at Anfield.



29 August: A week on from the shooting, police stopped cars in motorists in Croxteth and appealed for driver of a red car to come forward. Boy M was arrested on suspicion of murder and released on bail the next morning.



4 September: Nathan Quinn was arrested and later released on bail.



6 September: Thousands of mourners attended Rhys's funeral at Liverpool's Anglican Cathedral. Rhys was buried in a blue and white Everton FC coffin and mourners, including his father Stephen and brother Owen, all wore their football shirts.



11 September: Coy's lock-up garage in Kirkby was raided by police and two empty petrol cans were found.



26 September: Police released CCTV footage of the suspected killer.



30 September: Police raided the home of Boy X and found the murder weapon, along with a second gun and ammunition, in the loft space. Mercer, alerted to the search, calls Boy X, who was on holiday in Florida, and told him about the raid.



Boy X later broke down and when his family became aware that he was connected to the Rhys Jones murder inquiry, they told the boy to co-operate with police.



6 October: Boy X was arrested at Manchester Airport and later granted immunity from prosecution in exchange for his "crucial" evidence.



20 October: Police renewed appeals for the woman seen driving a red car, and officers also appealed for a boy, aged 13 to 14 and riding a silver BMX bike, to come forward.



6 November: Chief Constable of Merseyside Bernard Hogan-Howe said he is "confident" his officers know the identity of the killer.



17 November: Prime Minister Gordon Brown said the murder "shocked every parent in the country".



20 November: A 16-year-old and an 18-year-old are arrested on firearms offences in connection with the Rhys Jones investigation and released on bail.



14 December: Rhys's family said they do not know how they can "face waking up on Christmas morning" without him.



10 January, 2008: Home Secretary Jacqui Smith held a private meeting with Stephen and Melanie Jones after announcing plans to toughen restrictions on deactivated firearms.



29 January: Mercer was detained on separate firearms offences but bailed 48 hours later.



8 February: Detective Superintendent Dave Kelly, who led the inquiry, said he was confident the killer will be brought to justice.



20 February: Detectives confirmed they had found a gun they believed was the murder weapon. They also revealed they have established the exact make of the bicycle used by the gunman.



Leslie Shimmin, having heard this news, took the Specialized Hardrock mountain bike he found in Kirkby on August 23 to a police station. DNA tests establish a link to Mercer and the serial number (P6J126777) is the same as the bicycle provided to him in April 2007.



3 March: Stephen Jones joined forces with Liverpool and Everton football clubs to launch a football tournament in his son's memory with an anti-gun message.



15 April: Eleven people were arrested in dawn raids, including Sean Mercer, James Yates, Nathan Quinn, Gary Kays, Melvin Coy, Dean Kelly and Boy M. Mercer is later charged with murder and the others were charged with assisting an offender.



15 December: Mercer was found guilty of murdering Rhys Jones. Five of his gang were also convicted of helping him.



16 December: Dean Kelly, referred to as Boy K, was also found guilty on four related charges.