As a parent I do not know what I would do if my son asked me for help after he was suspected for a murder. I do, however, imagine I would do anything I could to help him, even lie to the police if I had to.
Janette Mercer, the mother of Rhys Jones' killer, Sean Mercer, has been jailed for three years for lying to police during the schoolboy's murder inquiry. Mercer, 49, who admitted perverting the course of justice, backed her son when he told police he owned a black and cream mountain bike, not a silver one caught on CCTV being used by the gunman. Rhys's parents Stephen and Melanie Jones were in court to hear Judge Henry Globe QC tell Mercer: "Your son was a key suspect in the murder and you knew he had told a pack of lies. You backed him up and you told more lies."
Also sentenced were Francis and Marie Yates, the parents of Sean Mercer's co-accused James Yates. Marie Yates, 51, hindered the investigation by destroying a mobile phone SIM card belonging to her son which could have provided police with crucial evidence. Her husband, 49, was with her when it was set on fire. He also suggested a false alibi to help Mercer cover his tracks.
The couple, of Dodman Road, Croxteth, pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice just as their trial was due to begin on Wednesday. Both were sentenced to 18 months in jail for destroying the Sim card and Francis Yates was jailed for three years, to be served consecutively, for helping establish the alibi.
I am not saying that the parents of these boys didn't deserve to be found guily to perverting the course of justice but I do think that their sentences were very steep. I mean look at the paltry sentences that fraudsters get when they swindle people out of £millions and try and compare that to a parent put in such a position.
Still, that is called justice in the UK nowadays.