- Shereka Marsh, 15, bled to death after being accidentally shot in the neck
- Her boyfriend, 15, had been posing with the gun just moments before
- He had been keeping the weapon – which had been used in a gangland shooting a month earlier for a unknown criminal in Hackney
- Old Bailey jury acquitted him of murder but convicted him of manslaughter
Star pupil Shereka Marsh, 15, bled to death in minutes after being accidentally shot in the neck by her boyfriend
A teenage boy has been found guilty of manslaughter after he accidentally shot his girlfriend dead as he showed off with an illegal handgun.
Star pupil Shereka Marsh, 15, bled to death in minutes after she had gone to give the 15-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, a birthday present.
The Old Bailey heard that the teenager had been posing with the fake Beretta handgun in his bedroom in Hackney, east London, while Shereka was visiting him on his birthday.
He had been keeping the weapon – which had been used in a gangland shooting a month earlier – for an unknown criminal, also in Hackney.
Shereka bled to death after the 7.65mm bullet passed through her wrist and into her neck.
He had told police that the gun fired unexpectedly as they both handled the weapon.
But in court he demonstrated how he was showing off in front of Shereka and had no idea it was loaded when he pulled the trigger ‘accidentally’.
The boy claimed that the gun was already cocked and ready to fire when he took it out of the box.
He said he got the gun out of an Xbox box just to show her and when it went off, Shereka simply said: ‘I’ve been shot’, before collapsing on the bed.
The youth then phoned 999 but she was pronounced dead later that afternoon, the court heard.
On his arrest at the house, the boy told officers it was ‘an accident’ and exclaimed: ‘Am I going to hell?’ and: ‘My girl died on my birthday.’
He told the Old Bailey that he started playing with the gun and put both hands on the handle and pointed it at Shereka.
The boy said: ‘She wanted to touch it, she had never seen a gun before, she wanted to touch it, she was getting close to the gun so I told her not to touch it because she had no gloves on.’
He added: ‘At this point I decided to put it away, I got up off the bed, I had two hands on the gun.
‘I was holding it with both hands on the handle, I was standing in front of Shereka.
‘At this point I started showing off with the gun in my hands.’
Asked why he did that the boy replied: ‘To be honest, I don’t know, at first I was laughing, she was smiling, I was waving the gun around.’
The boy had been keeping the weapon – which had been used in a gangland shooting a month earlier – for a unknown criminal in Hackney, east London, the court heard. Forensic teams are pictured removing evidence
‘That’s when I accidentally pulled the trigger.’
He said he had taken the magazine out of the gun and did not know there was a bullet in the chamber.
He admitted possession of a prohibited weapon and ammunition, a PB Birevetta 7.65mm self-loading pistol and nine un-fired 7.65mn calibre Browning cartridges, without a firearms certificate.
The Old Bailey jury acquitted him of murder today but convicted him of manslaughter and possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life.
Judge Charles Wide QC is expected to order reports before passing sentence.
The Old Bailey heard that the teenager had been posing with the fake Beretta handgun in his bedroom while Shereka was visiting him
Shereka, a Year 11 pupil at the Unswick School in Hackney, was described as a hard-working student, predicted to do well in her GCSEs.
The trial heard that she had spent the early afternoon of 22 March this year looking for presents for the boy at Westfield shopping centre in Stratford, east London.
At around 3pm she called and said she was on her way to Hackney with his presents.
He said he got the gun out of an Xbox box just to show her and when it went off, Shereka simply said: ‘I’ve been shot’, before collapsing on the bed
But just seven minutes later the boy called 999 to say that Shereka had been shot in the neck.
When asked if the attackers were still there, he replied: ‘They’ve gone.’
By the time paramedics and police arrived Shereka was not breathing and had no pulse.
A doctor arrived by helicopter to try and save her life but she was declared dead at 4.37pm.
The boy, who was wearing gloves, told officers after his arrest: ‘She’s been shot. We were both holding it when it went off… I didn’t even pull the trigger.’
He also claimed that he found the PC Birivetta on Hackney Marsh but later admitted that he had been asked to keep it safe by someone.
As he was taken to the police station he banged his head on the cage iand said: ‘Can I say sorry to her mum? It was an accident. Am I going to hell? I didn’t kill her.’
A search of his room revealed a stab vest and nine unfired bullets in a Blackberry mobile handset box.
Tests on the Birivetta – a copy of a 1930s Beretta – revealed it had also been used in a shooting which left three men injured at Median Road in Clapton on 21 February this year.
Detectives also found photos of the boy pointing two handguns at the camera. One of the pictures was found on Shereka’s phone.
Prosecutor Jonathan Rees QC admitted there was no evidence of any motive for the boy deliberately killing Shereka.
But he told jurors: ‘The evidence suggests that the gun fired as a result of the defendant deliberately pulling the trigger as he stood in front of her, pointing the gun towards her neck while she was holding up her left hand.
‘If he did shoot Shereka in a fit of anger which he immediately regretted, then this would not be the first case of its kind.
‘At some stage he aimed the gun at Shereka’s neck, and exerted concerted effort to pull the trigger and failed to ensure the gun was not loaded by pulling back the slide.
‘We say that he failed in his duty of care to Shereka, and was grossly negligent in using the gun in her presence.’