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Boy 'shot girlfriend on birthday'

A teenage boy shot his girlfriend in the neck after she went to give him a birthday present, a court heard.

Shereka Fab-Ann Marsh, 15, suffered serious internal bleeding after she was hit with a single bullet from a counterfeit 1930s Italian Beretta pistol in the bedroom of a house in Hackney, East London in March.

The boy, also 15, who cannot be named for legal reasons, phoned the emergency services but Shereka was pronounced dead later that afternoon, the Old Bailey heard.

He told police who arrived at the scene that he had found the gun on Hackney Marshes and it went off without either one of them pulling the trigger.

The boy told an officer: "She's been shot. We were both holding it and it went off. I found the gun yesterday. We were looking at it. It went off and hit her in the neck. I didn't know it was going to go off... She said 'you've just shot me'. I didn't even pull the trigger."

After he was arrested, the boy said: "Can I say sorry to her mum? It was an accident. Am I going to hell? I didn't kill her. I'm the one that's alive and she's dead. My girl died on my birthday."

In police interviews, the boy told how he had taken the gun out of an Xbox games console box to show the girl after she arrived at the house, jurors were told.

They were both holding it, his gloved hand on hers over a cloth, when it tilted upwards towards her neck and went off, the boy told police.

Prosecutor Jonathan Rees QC said: "He said that she was looking at the gun and spun it around herself so that it was pointing towards her as opposed towards his arm.

"The defendant was asked why the gun fired. He was adamant that he did not touch the trigger at any time. He did not assert that Miss Marsh had pulled the trigger but insisted that he did not touch the trigger at all. He said he heard a pop or a loud bang."

During the interviews, he stuck to his story about finding the gun but later produced a written statement saying that he had agreed to look after it for someone else.

He refused to name the person who gave it to him because, he said, "I am not a snitch."

A post-mortem examination gave the cause of Shereka's death as a gunshot wound to the neck.

A single bullet from the P B Birevetta 7.65mm self-loading pistol found hidden under a pillow in the bedroom had gone through her wrist and neck before lodging in her left shoulder causing "significant internal bleeding".

A firearms expert found that the gun was probably fired from one and a half feet away from Shereka's hand and tests showed that it would not tend to go off without the trigger being pulled, jurors were told.

The defendant denies murder and an alternative charge of manslaughter. He has also pleaded not guilty to possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life.

Mr Rees told the jury to consider how the boy came to point the gun at Shereka when it went off.

He said: "One possibility for you to consider is whether he was posing with the gun in front of her. If so, it would not be the first time he has posed in such a fashion."

An examination of the boy's mobile phone revealed two images dated March 4 last year of the defendant posing in front of the camera with handguns, the prosecutor said.

In one of the images he is pointing the guns at the person taking the picture, he said.

This picture was also found stored on Shereka's iPhone and the defendant's BlackBerry which were recovered from the scene of the shooting, jurors were told.

The trial continues.

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