THE killer of schoolboy Rhys Jones has been beaten up behind bars by a lag competing for a “prize” of £5 and 40 cigs.
Teenage gunman Sean Mercer’s nose was broken by another 18-year-old.
He was immediately switched 45 miles from the Lancaster Farms young offenders’ centre in Lancashire to the hospital at Hindley jail, near Wigan.
His nose was re-set and he was given treatment for other facial injuries. After recovering, he was immediately transferred to a new institution because prison bosses feared he would become the target of further attacks.
Mercer was jailed for a minimum 22 years last month.
He was convicted for 11-year-old Rhys death in August last year as the boy walked home from football
practice at Croxteth, Liverpool.
It is believed lags at Lancaster Farms hatched a vengeance plan as soon as they knew Mercer was to join them.
They raked together a kitty of money and cigarettes to be claimed by the first youth to land a punch on the new prisoner.
It did not take long before one inmate seized his chance in an open area of the institution.
He took a swing to claim the prize.
Mercer’s nose was broken in two places and he collapsed in tears of pain.
A source revealed: “Emotions were high as soon as Mercer arrived. There is no doubt he is a marked man.
“Criminals do not like child killers and he is now one of the most notorious in Britain.
“Someone gave him a good trouncing over Rhys and the management decided the best thing was to get him straight out.”
The Ministry of Justice has declined to discuss the attack on Mercer, saying only: “We do not comment on individual cases.”
the police believe Mercer could stay behind bars for 40 years because of public outrage over Rhys’s killing.
At his Liverpool trial, he showed little remorse, laughing in the dock with others who had been charged with trying to protect him.