Little Boy Blue – what happened next?

What happened to Rhys Jones's family and the boys who changed their lives for ever?

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ITV’s four-part drama Little Boy Blue, about the murder of Rhys Jones, featured the convictions of Sean Mercer and his associates, but the story doesn’t end there.

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Here’s what happened next to the boys who covered up the crime, and the family they devastated.

What happened to Sean Mercer?

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Mercer was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Rhys Jones, with a minimum of 22 years. He’s currently serving that sentence at HMP Frankland, a Category A or high security prison.

Among his fellow inmates are Soham murderer Ian Huntley, serial killer Peter Sutcliffe (the Yorkshire Ripper) and Lee Rigby’s murderers, Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale.

Mercer’s mother, Jeanette, was sentenced to three years in prison for perverting the course of justice by lying for her son.

What happened to James Yates?

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Yates was initially sentenced to seven years in prison for providing Mercer with the gun and possession of the firearm, but his sentence was extended to 12 years after an appeal was lodged and the judge found that he should serve his two sentences continuously instead of concurrently.

He was released in 2014, having only served half of his term in prison, and applied to overturn a ban that prevented his return home to Croxteth to visit a relative. His requests were refused by the Ministry of Justice.

Yates was recalled to prison in 2015 after he was accused – along with Dean Kelly – of being involved in an alleged drugs ring in Dundee, Scotland. Charges against the pair were ultimately dropped.

James Yates’ parents, Francis and Marie, were jailed for four and a half years and 18 months respectively. His father was given a longer sentence for helping to construct an alibi for the night of the murder.

What happened to Dean Kelly?

Dean Kelly was given a four year prison sentence, serving just 15 months because of time he’d already spent on remand.

Within a year of his release he was back in custody for breaking the terms of his parole, and he ended up back behind bars for another 10 months in 2013 for speeding away from police in a stolen van, and subsequently crashing the vehicle into a couple’s car.

In 2014 Kelly and James Yates were accused of supplying heroin from an address in Dundee, but as no witnesses were willing to testify the charges were dropped earlier this year.

What happened to Nathan Quinn?

Quinn was already serving a five-year sentence for possession of firearms when the Rhys Jones murder trial commenced, and he was sentenced to two years in prison for his role in the cover up.

He was freed in 2011, much to the distress of the Jones family, who told the Liverpool Echo they were horrified to hear he’d been given permission to return to Croxteth to visit a sick relative.

What happened to Melvyn Coy?

Coy, who drove Mercer away from Croxteth to help him dispose of evidence, was sentenced to 7 years in prison. He was released on licence (meaning he was still serving a sentence but could do so in public) in 2011, having served half his time.

He ended up back in prison for another 12 months in 2015 for stealing a car which had been fitted with a tracking device by police.

What happened to Gary Kays?

Kays was sentenced to seven years in prison for his role in the murder and cover up. It was Kays who alerted Mercer to the presence of rival gang members in the car park of the Fir Tree pub, and he also helped Mercer escape in McCoy’s van.

He became a father while he was in prison and was released not long after the baby was born. However, Kays ended up behind bars again in 2013 after police raided his home as part of a major drug investigation.

What happened to Boy M?

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Boy M (given the false name Jordan Olssen in Little Boy Blue) was given a two month supervision order and a four-month curfew for his role in the cover up.

As he was only 16 at the time of the murder he has never been named.

What happened to Boy X?

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Boy X (Kevin Moody in the drama) was placed under witness protection following the trial.

His identity has never been revealed.

What happened to Rhys’s parents, Mel and Steve Jones?

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Mel and Steve separated briefly in the aftermath of Rhys’s murder, and in 2013 – as what would have been Rhys’s 18th birthday approached – they were still struggling to come to terms with the impact of his death.

“We have our ups and downs on different days. Everyone deals with grief differently” Mel told The Mirror.

“Steve likes to work, and keeps it in. I’m emotional and like to scream. We are never feeling the same on the same day. It’s had a devastating impact on our relationship. It has torn us apart.”

The pair are back together now, and are still friends with the man who helped to solve their son’s murder.

What happened to Detective Superintendent Dave Kelly?

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The officer in charge of the investigation into Rhys’s murder retired just months after Mercer and his associates were charged.

“Dave Kelly has decided to retire from the Force whilst still in the role of temporary Detective Superintendent,” a spokesperson for Merseyside Police said in a statement released to the Liverpool Echo. “Mr Kelly is a highly respected detective, and we wish him well for the future.”

Before he retired, Kelly had also led the investigation that eventually put murderer and kidnapper Daniel Breaks back behind bars in 2009.

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He remains close to Mel and Steve Jones to this day, and only cooperated with Little Boy Blue’s producers after consulting with the family first.