Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Teenage Boy Sentenced To Nine Years In Jail For Killing Girlfriend, Aged 15
A teenage boy who shot his girlfriend dead on his birthday has been sentenced to nine years' detention for her manslaughter.
Shereka Fab-Ann Marsh, 15, was hit in the neck by a single bullet from a fake 1930s Italian Beretta pistol which the boy was looking after in a mire of 'violent gang confrontation', a court heard.
The 15-year-old boy - who cannot be named due to his age - was cleared of murder after jurors hears he loved Shereka and fired the gun by accident.
But the jury convicted him of manslaughter and possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life.
Judge Charles Wide told the Old Bailey it was plain from the evidence that he had been pointing the gun at Shereka to 'frighten' her.
And the circumstances in which he had the gun and ammunition in the first place were in the context of 'violent gang confrontation', the judge said.
The judge told the boy: 'Having come into possession of the gun and ammunition plainly in the context of being asked to look after it ... you then got it out.
'I have no doubt at all you pointed it at Shereka and pulled the trigger to frighten her and you shot her dead.'
During the trial, the boy insisted that he loved his girlfriend and had no reason to hurt her. After the gun went off in the bedroom of a house in Hackney, east London, the boy phoned 999 but she was pronounced dead later that afternoon. On his arrest at the house, the boy told officers it was 'an accident' and exclaimed: 'Am I going to hell?' Later he said: 'My girl died on my birthday.' Police later found two pictures of him posing with handguns on his mobile phone, one of which was pointing at the person who took the photograph. Soon after the shooting, the boy said he and his girlfriend were sitting on the bed and holding the gun together to feel how heavy it was. But he changed his story and admitted in court that he had been standing in front of her, waving the gun around with both hands, not thinking it was loaded. The defendant also initially claimed to have found the gun on Hackney Marshes, but later said he had been given it to hide for a man in his 20s - who he refused to name. Today, Judge Wide told the boy that he observed he had behaved with 'quite remarkable coolness' while describing in court how he shot his girlfriend . He also took account of his previous violent behaviour - two convictions for robbery, one armed with a screwdriver.
The court heard that the boy had been excluded from school three times, twice for violence. A text message referring to 'shanks' - thought to mean homemade knives - showed he had been involved in an incident of violence in the past, the judge said. The youth had previously pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm and possession of ammunition but was not sentenced separately for those offences. Shereka's family were in court as her killer was sent down to begin his sentence without showing any emotion.
Her mother Shyrine Mills issued a statement saying: 'Guns are not toys'. 'Shereka's life was tragically cut short because of the negligent actions by one of her peers who took it upon himself to involve himself in activities that no child should ever be involved with,' she added. 'Guns are not toys and should only be handled by trained professionals in extreme circumstances. 'Shereka and the defendant should be in school preparing for their GCSEs, and we all should have been going about our normal daily business, while the courts deal with hardened criminals.'