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Manchester Evening News
Manchester Evening News
Adam Everett & Ellie Kemp

Post appears on Strangeways prisoner's Instagram account days after he's jailed for shooting girl in the neck

Posts have appeared on a Strangeways prisoner's social media page days after he was jailed for shooting an innocent schoolgirl in the neck.

Rio Jones shot a 15-year-old in the neck with a stray bullet after the teenager fired six gunshots as he pursued his rival gang member through the streets of Toxteth, Liverpool, on an electric bike. The teenager - appearing via video link to HMP Manchester - showed no emotion as he was imprisoned for life with a minimum term of 16-and-a-half years on Tuesday last week after he was found guilty of attempting to murder Shakur Watson.

But following his sentencing, one post appeared on his Instagram account that stated 'it was me who shot up, reports the ECHO. Late on the evening of Tuesday this week, a post appeared on what is believed to be the 19-year-old's Instagram page. This showed a picture of a male with his hood up and face covered.

Read more: Strangeways prisoner shot schoolgirl in the neck at bus stop

The caption reads: "Guess whos back RJ's back it was me who shot up. New music coming very soon run this up" along with the hashtags #freerj, #hmpliving, #cataliving and #starredup.

It is not known whether Jones is responsible for the post or whether it was made by another person with access to the "RJ from da 8 side" account, which seemed to have been inactive for more than a year previously. The photograph also appears to be of some age, having previously been posted on the same feed in November 2021 - more than three months before the shooting.

Rio Jones was convicted of attempting to murder Shakur Watson (Merseyside Police)

A further message on Jones' Instagram story read "everyone repost to let everyone know am back n got loads of new s*** coming real soon". Another added "me n bro due to drop this next month wys" alongside a clip of a music video.

A trial at Liverpool Crown Court previously heard that Jones, of Jermyn Street in Toxteth, was chasing Watson through the streets - with both riding electric bikes - shortly after 5pm on March 1 last year when he fired six shots at "at extremely close proximity" on Upper Warwick Street. One bullet struck the other rider, with another hitting the 15-year-old - who "happened to be waiting at a bus stop just behind the target" with a friend, aged 14.

She was rushed to Alder Hey Children's Hospital after one of the bullets entered at the right-hand side of the back of her neck and exited via the chest area. The youngster suffered lung damage and shattered vertebrae in her spine, undergoing 10 days of treatment before being discharged.

A post which appeared on Rio Jones' Instagram page a week after he was jailed for life for shooting a 15-year-old girl (Instagram)

Meanwhile, Watson continued riding for a short distance before knocking on the door of a nearby house. The occupant drove the 20-year-old to the Royal Liverpool Hospital after he was shot in the right arm, requiring surgery after a bullet fractured a bone in his wrist.

In the aftermath Jones disposed of the gun, his bike and the clothes he had been wearing during the shooting. None of these items have since been recovered. The teen was arrested at his home on March 3, with a search of the property revealing body armour in his bedroom. He claimed to have lost his phone during a visit to Sheffield the day after the shooting, replacing it with a new handset and number thereafter.

Jones said in his evidence that he had been stabbed, shot at and run over in a dispute between two groups of feuding former friends in the years leading up to the incident. This schism allegedly developed after an unnamed pal was murdered in 2017.

After this, he and his family had been on the end of a series of attacks for which he believed "someone in the other group of friends" was responsible. These included an arson attack at his home in January 2019, six days before his dad's work van was set on fire.

On November 21 2019, a firearm was discharged outside Jones' address when he was not home. Ten 9mm casings were found in the road, with nine bullet holes left in the front window.

Jones was then stabbed on High Park Street on October 24 2021, being knifed in the chest and leg as he and a female friend sat in a car. He suffered a "small puncture wound" to his upper thigh and a "slash wound" to the hand, but sustained no injuries to his torso as he was wearing body armour.

The teenager said on the witness box that he had been stabbed twice prior to this. He also claimed to have been "chased with knives and guns", while his mum's car had "got smashed up".

On another occasion, Jones was chased and hit by a car while walking his dog and suffered a broken foot. Shots were also fired when he and a group of his friends were being pursued through the streets.

The teenager stated that he had been similarly been tailed on the morning of the shooting in March 2022 and decided to retaliate by finding and pursuing a person from the other gang in order to warn his assailants off. Jones maintained that he had not intended to fire the gun and instead "panicked" when he brandished the weapon.

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