The teenage killer who shot schoolboy Rhys Jones dead as he walked home from football practice was sentenced yesterday to a minimum of 22 years in jail for murder, as a trial judge condemned what he termed his brutality and cowardice.
Irwin said the offence arose from the "stupid, brutal gang conflict" which had struck the part of Liverpool where Mercer lived. "You were caught up in that from a young age but it is clear you gloried in it. It is wrong to let anyone glorify or romanticise this kind of gang conflict."
"You are not soldiers, you have no discipline, no training, no honour. You do not command respect." He told Mercer he was a selfish, shallow criminal "remarkable only by the danger you pose to others".
Sadly there is no doubt that the gang rivalry in Liverpool 11 that brought about this tragic event will still be going on.
Sean Mercer will probably not be held up as a hero even by his friends. After all he brought a lot of problems for them with his bundled attempt to shoot at members of their rival gang. They will believe that they could have done a better job.Their disgust with Mercer will probably not be because he killed an innocent young boy but because he failed to deal with the issue at hand.