The detective who helped to put Rhys Jones' killer away has spoken for the first time about his emotional visit to the 11-year-old's grave.
Innocent Rhys was shot in Croxteth in 2007 after getting caught in the crossfire between gangs.
Det Supt Dave Kelly led the team that sealed 16-year-old Sean Mercer's murder conviction.
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During the investigation Dave became close to the family and after retiring he visited Everton fan Rhys’ grave with Rhys' dad Steve - reports Mirror Online.
Dave said: “It’s a nice grave, with the Everton emblem. I said a few words. Steve used to write poems about him and I said to him, ‘You’ll have to stop writing, I can’t take it anymore’. They were emotional.
“He said something in one about how Rhys would be playing football in heaven so I said, ‘I hope you’re playing football, lad’.”
Both appear on a Discovery+ documentary in a new series called Britain’s Deadliest Kids.
Dave shed a tear as he spoke about the murder that shocked the nation.
Mercer got a 22-year sentence but Dave thinks he should be inside for life.
He said: “Some people do get rehabilitated and prosper, but the majority don’t. It’s the lifestyle they lead, the influence of their parents and surroundings.”
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Last year Rhys' mum Mel recalled the tragic aftermath of the shooting. She said: "I just ran over to him and put my arms under his head.
"I was talking to him and talking to him, and saying ‘stay with me, stay with me Rhys’.
“But there was no response from him at all. He was just lying there in a huge pool of blood.
“He was such a very happy, outgoing boy.”
Many Everton players attended the young fan's funeral and his coffin was draped in his team's colours.