‘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.