Teenager jailed for life for shooting in which 15-year-old girl was shot in neck

A teenager has today, Tuesday 10 January, been jailed for life following a shooting in Liverpool during which a 15-year-old girl was shot in the neck.

Rio Jones, now aged 19, and of Toxteth, fired a gun multiple times at another male as they rode electric bikes along Upper Warwick Street in Toxteth on the afternoon of Tuesday 1 March last year.

The schoolgirl, who was an innocent bystander, was standing at a bus stop on Upper Warwick Street when she was hit in the neck by a stray bullet.

She was taken to hospital in a serious condition. She was later released and continues to recover at home.

A 20-year-old man was also injured during the incident and received hospital treatment for a gunshot wound to the hand.

Jones was found guilty after a trial of attempted murder, s18 wounding and possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life.

He was today jailed for life to serve a minimum of 16 years and six months at Liverpool Crown Court for the attempted murder.

He was also further sentenced to nine years to run concurrently for the wounding and 12 years for the firearms offence also to run concurrently.

His Honour Judge Andrew Menary KC also activated 12 months of an 18-month suspended sentence for wounding in connection with a previous incident.

In passing sentence, HHJ Menary said the incident was evidence of gang-related violence and that the shooting was a “planned and determined effort to kill a rival” and that there “must be a deterrent element to his sentence.”

Detective Superintendent Rachel Wilson said, “This was a truly shocking and reckless incident in which an innocent child was caught up in a gang dispute and it is only by sheer good fortune that this did not turn into a murder investigation.

“We sadly know the devastating consequences of gun crime, not only on victims and their families but also the wider communities.

“My officers worked tirelessly on this investigation to bring the person responsible to justice. Thanks to their hard work and diligence we were able to move quickly to arrest and charge Jones within a matter of days of the incident happening.

“Today he is behind bars, where he will spend a considerable amount of time, reflecting on the consequences of his brazen actions.

“Sadly Jones’ victim continues to suffer, both physically and mentally, as a result of the injury she suffered that day. I hope that the sentence will bring some comfort to her and her family and help her in some way with her long process of recovery.

“I also want this to serve as a warning to other people that carrying and using guns on the streets of Merseyside will never be acceptable. If you choose to carry a weapon we will do everything within our powers to find you and put you behind bars.”

Rachael Barber, a Senior Crown Prosecutor with CPS Mersey Cheshire’s Complex Casework Unit, said, “Rio Jones took a deadly firearm onto a public street with every intention of using it to kill. He fired six bullets at close proximity towards Shakur Watson, with one of those bullets also hitting an innocent young girl standing nearby who had nothing to do with either of the men. 

“It is a miracle that either of them survived. Mr Watson felt unable to help the police with their investigation but the teenage girl supported the prosecution throughout. The CPS would like to thank her for her bravery in the face of the terror she was subjected to that evening.  

“People like Jones bring deadly violence and mayhem to our streets without any thought for the results.

“The illegal use of guns has no place in a civilised society and criminals who use them will face the full force of the law, which is what has happened to Rio Jones. He has been given a life sentence for his actions on that night. We hope that is of some comfort to the victims.”

Anyone who has any information about the use and storage of weapons is asked to DM @MerPolCC or contact @CrimestopperUK anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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