Dad of Rhys Jones killer arrested after petrol bomb attack

SEAN Mercer’s dad was arrested after the family home of a man jailed alongside his son was petrol bombed.

Joseph McCormick, 56, was pulled in by police after the arson attack at the home of Gary Kays at the weekend.

Kays, 26, was one of six defendants to be convicted of helping McCormick’s gang member son try to evade justice for murdering 11-year-old Rhys Jones in August 2007.

McCormick, a former nightclub bouncer and physical training instructor, was a noticeable presence at the 11-week trial at Liverpool Crown Court last winter.

He was regularly seen talking to Gary Kays’ dad – also called Gary – on the landing outside the court room.

It was said in court that the Kays made the phone call that brought then-16-year-old Mercer to the Fir Tree Pub, in Croxteth Park, where innnocent Rhys was killed when he was caught in the middle of a gang war.

Croxteth Crew member Mercer, now 18, was jailed for life and ordered to serve a minimum 22 years for the murder.

He shot Everton fan Rhys as he walked home from football practice. Mercer, of Good Shepherd Close, Croxteth, was aiming for gang members from Norris Green who were across the Pub car park.

Kays was given a seven-year sentence for assisting an offender after he and others helped Mercer wash away vital evidence in the aftermath of the shooting and burn clothes in a Kirkby lock-up.

Kays was one of only two defendants to give evidence in the trial. Mercer stayed silent throughout.

At 3am on Saturday, Kays’ home in Mallard Close, Croxteth Park, was petrol bombed.

His parents, Gary snr and Patricia, were away in north Wales but one of his younger sisters, Kelly, 16, had stayed at home with her boyfriend.

They managed to put the flames out after a downstairs window was smashed and a petrol bomb thrown inside.

McCormick was arrested at his home address, on the edge of Liverpool city centre, on Sunday night.

He was questioned on suspicion of committing arson with intent to endanger life throughout Monday before being released on bail pending further enquiries.