Gun tests 'replicated Rhys's wounds'

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The Independent Online

A gun allegedly used to kill schoolboy Rhys Jones replicated the wounds inflicted in his shooting when fired in tests, a court heard today.

Football-mad Rhys, 11, was gunned down in the car park of the Fir Tree pub in Croxteth Park, Liverpool, on 22 August last year.

He was hit by one of three bullets blasted at members of north Liverpool gang the Nogga Dogz by opposing Crocky Crew gang member Sean Mercer, 18, it is alleged.

The bullet entered Rhys's back slightly above his left shoulder blade and exited through the front right side of his neck.

Today, a murder jury at Liverpool Crown Court heard the bullet hit Rhys "partially or fully sideways-on".

Neil Flewitt QC, for the prosecution, said the bullet produced a "keyhole effect" on Rhys's body and tests on the .455 Smith and Wesson replicated it.

He said: "The scientist is satisfied that the damage to the back of the shirt is a bullet entry hole.

"It is not, however, a neat round hole as might be expected from a bullet fired directly from a rifled barrel.

"The bullet appears to have struck Rhys Jones partially or fully sideways-on producing a 'keyhole' effect.

"This is the result of the bullet tumbling nose-over-base in flight rather that flying nose first in a stabilised manner.

"It is the rifling in the barrel that normally stabilises a bullet.

"A bullet tumbling in this manner is usually due to the bullet being undersized or having been discharged from a smooth-bore barrel or from a barrel with worn rifling or having been deflected by striking or passing through some intermediate target.

"The scientist used the revolver to test-fire three of the .45 Colt cartridges found with it.

"His tests revealed that the bullets produced the same distinctive 'keyhole' effect that he had identified on Rhys Jones's football shirt."

He added that the results seemed to be caused because the bullet was undersized by 0.08mm and the rifling of the revolver was worn.