Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Liverpool Echo
Liverpool Echo
Adam Everett

Thug walked free from court for bottling ex girlfriend weeks before he shot schoolgirl

A thug walked free from court for bottling his ex-girlfriend weeks before he shot a 15-year-old girl.

Rio Jones left his former partner with glass shards lodged in her shoulder during the attack during a night out in Liverpool city centre. He was handed a suspended sentence at Liverpool Crown Court just a month before he opened fire in the street, although an electronically-monitored tag he was ordered to wear as part of his this order placed him squarely at the scene of the shooting and meant he was forced to confess his involvement.

Liverpool Crown Court heard on January 31 last year there had been a "significant" age difference between then 18-year-old Jones and his older girlfriend before their relationship ended in "acrimony" last year. At around 5am on November 21, 2021 - two years to the day after a hail of bullets was fired at his home on Jermyn Street in Toxteth - the pair had a "chance meeting" on Wood Street in the city centre.

READ MORE: Rio Jones jailed for life after shooting schoolgirl at bus stop

CCTV showed them arguing on and off for most of the next hour. At around 5.40am, his victim was heard repeatedly screaming "Rio, Rio, no, no" and crying for help.

A "wildly angry" Jones hurled his bag and coat to the floor, then threw a punch at her as a bouncer tried to hold him back. The teenager was ushered away, but minutes later he reached into the gutter and picked up a bottle before turning his attentions back to the woman.

She attempted to flee, but he aimed "a hefty, hefty blow which struck her on the blade of her right shoulder". The assault left her with a deep cut with pieces of glass inside and a displaced fracture to her shoulder blade.

Jones then shouted abuse including "why don't you go back to your own country?" at a passing woman. He later admitted wounding and a racially aggravated public order offence.

But Recorder David O’Mahony took an "exceptional course" in sparing him from prison. Jones was instead given an 18-month imprisonment suspended for two years and told to complete 180 hours of unpaid work as well as being handed a rehabilitation activity requirement of up to 30 days and a restraining order.

Crucially, the judge imposed a curfew on the teen. The tag he was made to wear on his ankle as a result proved vital after he shot rival gang member Shakur Watson and a 15-year-old girl on Upper Warwick Street in Toxteth on the evening on March 1, just shy of a month after he had walked free from the dock.

David Temkin KC, prosecuting, told the court during Jones' trial: "When the police looked at the tag evidence, it showed that the defendant was at the scene of the shooting. The tag around his ankle transmitted signals that were registered at the home monitoring units of other unconnected people in Toxteth who also happened to be subject to a court-imposed curfew.

"Those people had curfews at addresses that happened to be in the near vicinity of the shooting. The records that were generated prove that this defendant was in the relevant part of Upper Warwick Street just at the time that a gunman opened fire."

In yet another coincidence, 20-year-old Watson was also wearing a tag at the time. Both his and Jones' devices showed the exact same movements when the attack occurred.

The latter had denied he was the gunman until only days before his trial began. But the strength of this evidence, as well video footage and mobile phone data, left him with no option other than to admit that he was the shooter.

The now 19-year-old pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life. A jury then found Jones guilty of attempted murder and inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent.

He returned to court this week to be sentenced over the shooting. The Honorary Recorder of Liverpool Judge Andrew Menary KC jailed him for life with a minimum term of 16-and-a-half years.

READ NEXT: Woman sobs 'I love you' to her family as she's jailed for six years

Man admits he was 'out of order' after hitting Tesco security guard with machete

Heroin dealer's dad flushes drugs down the toilet after seeing son get arrested

Man, 22 made £10k selling laughing gas canisters outside pub

Paedophile arrested in B&Q had child rape video on his phone

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.