Melanie Jones

Stay With Me, Rhys
  • Stay With Me, Rhys


  • ‘Stay with me, Rhys,’ I kept saying over and over again. ‘Please stay with me. I love you.’
    There was still no expression in his eyes. I was talking and talking to him, desperate to let him know I was there, but there was no flicker in his face. In hindsight, it was like he’d already gone.


    It's a Wednesday evening in Liverpool in the summer holidays, and Melanie is expecting her Everton-mad eleven-year-old son back from football practice very soon. She turns on Coronation Street and sets about stripping the wallpaper off the walls in the lounge, which is long-overdue a makeover. Suddenly she receives a frantic knock at the door. Rhys has been shot on his way home.

    From that fateful day when Melanie cradled her child as he lay dying, repeating to him ‘Stay with Me, Rhys’, to the day in court when his killers were finally sent down, this is a story of a family in trauma, of a community united behind them and of how a notorious local gang who terrorised the neighbourhood was brought to justice.

    In 2017, more than 7 million people watched the drama unfold in the highly-acclaimed ITV series Little Boy Blue. And now Melanie Jones tells the family's unbelievable story for the first time.

    Melanie, her husband Steve and Rhys’s brother Owen have been through unimaginable pain. The grief doesn’t go away, but the strength they’ve found within it is an inspiration.

Melanie Jones was born in Wrexham and grew up in Liverpool. She met Steve at her local Tesco, where they both worked, when she was 17 and they married five years later in 1987. They had their first son, Owen, in 1990 and second son, Rhys, in 1995. Their happy family life was torn apart on 22 August 2007, when eleven-year-old Rhys was shot by a stray bullet fired by gang member Sean Mercer as he walked home from football training. He later died in hospital. After Rhys’s murder and the trial, Mel and Steve continued to work at Tesco and have helped in efforts to raise over £300,000 for a local community centre in Rhys’s name, which opened in 2013. They also collaborated with Jeff Pope on the recent ITV drama Little Boy Blue.