Little Boy Blue, the ITV drama which revisited the murder of 11-year-old Everton fan Rhys Jones in Liverpool rocked viewers to the core on Monday night (24 April).
The heart-wrenching programme, written by Jeff Pope, stayed true to detail in its account of the schoolboy's death in 2007. It moved viewers right from the start, as the dying child's mother Melanie Jones rushes to his side after he was shot in broad daylight after football practice.
In shocking scenes, Melanie, played by Sinead Keenan, cradled her son in her arms as he lay unconscious after being fatally gunned down by a youth on mountain bike.
It also shows how his father Steve, played by Brian F O'Byrne, was in denial and thought it was just a pellet gun before the reality of the situation finally hit him.
Viewers then watched paramedics fail to resuscitate the little boy as he died bleeding on the pavement, with Melanie breaking down in tears in hard-to-watch scenes.
On 16 December 2008 – after a nine-week trial – a member of the Croxteth Crew gang named Sean Mercer, 18, was found guilty of murder. He was sentenced to life imprisonment and ordered to serve a minimum term of 22 years. Other gang members including James Yates, Nathan Quinn, Boy 'M', Gary Kays and Melvin Coy were also convicted due to assisting an offender.
During the programme, which aired at 9pm on Monday night, people took to Twitter to express their emotions about the harrowing true crime drama.
One person wrote: "Every person that knew who shot Rhys Jones and said nothing is just as much scum as Sean Mercer. #littleboyblue" as another said: "#LittleBoyBlue should be shown to all the teenage idiots across the UK who think being in a gang or gun crime makes you a tough guy #RIPRhys".
Another viewer commended Rhys' parents, adding: "For Rhys' parents to be able to sit down and have the courage to tell all the details and emotions shows amazing strength #littleboyblue" another added: "#littleboyblue was probably the hardest thing I've ever watched. Can't even put it into words properly. Just angry, and heartbroken".
One more heartbroken Twitter user stated: "Is there a part 2? Just caught up and i am beyond heartbroken watching it rest easy little man".
Little Boy Blue continues at 9pm on ITV next Monday night.