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Liverpool Echo
Liverpool Echo
Adam Everett & Dan Haygarth

What judge told Rio Jones as he sentenced him to life for 'outrageous' shooting

A judge told Rio Jones his actions were "outrageous" as he jailed him for life.

Jones, 19, fired multiple shots at a rival as he chased him on an electric bike through Toxteth, hitting an innocent schoolgirl in the neck at she waited for a bus on Upper Warwick Street.

In October, Jones was found guilty of attempting to murder target Shakur Watson and inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent by a jury. Today (January 10), he was sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court, having also admitted possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life.

READ MORE: Dad told mum he 'may have murdered someone' after leaving woman for dead

Jones - appearing via video link to HMP Manchester - was imprisoned for life with a minimum term of 16-and-a-half years.

Sentencing Jones for what he described as a "planned attack", the Honorary Recorder of Liverpool Judge Andrew Menary KC said: "You claimed to have used the gun only to frighten and not to harm. That claim was plainly nonsense and was rejected by the jury.

"It is clear that you became aware of Shakur Watson, who was also riding an electric bike on Upper Warwick Street. There then followed a chase, with you quickly gaining on Shakur Watson.

"As you drew almost level with Mr Watson, and still travelling at some speed, you pulled a gun from your pocket and fired six shots in quick succession directly at Mr Watson. One of the bullets hit Mr Watson in the wrist.

"Another bullet missed Mr Watson but struck a girl who was standing waiting for a bus at the bus stop that happened to be adjacent to the place where you started shooting. There could very easily have been two people killed that day.

"It may be that the shooting of the girl was unintended, but it was entirely predictable given that you discharged this weapon six times from a fast moving bike on a main residential and commercial street in broad daylight. Your actions were outrageous.

"It is not possible for me to determine why you decided that day to try and murder Shakur Watson. You told the jury that you and he had at one time been friends, but you each found yourselves on different sides when two factions formed following the violent death of another young man.

"That much of your account might be true. I doubt much more of it was.

"I have no doubt that you and he were each members of rival gangs and that this was a gang-related incident. This incident has the hallmarks of gang activity.

"Although you yourself have been the victim of stabbings in the past, you have received threats and your mother's house has been damaged - including by being shot at - this is not because you are being unfairly picked on or targeted for no reason. I have no doubt it is the direct consequence of the gang-affiliated lifestyle you have chosen.

"You told the jury in evidence that you reacted as you did to the threats you had received because you were afraid, but your movements on the day of the shooting - and indeed the day before - suggests quite the opposite. With your friends, you rode around the streets of Liverpool for extended periods.

"Sadly, it is becoming an all too familiar sight in this city with groups of youths on high-powered electric bikes - with hoods up and faces covered - riding in a way that is arrogantly intimidating and intended to intimidate local communities. It does suggest you were not hiding in fear."

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