Man accused of Glasgow gangland shooting is cleared

 

A man accused of gunning down a gangland figure in a supermarket car park was acquitted today after the case against him collapsed.

Ross Monaghan, 30, was on trial accused of repeatedly shooting and murdering Kevin "Gerbil" Carroll outside Asda in Robroyston, Glasgow, on January 13 2010.

At the High Court in Glasgow today, the trial judge ruled there was no case to answer due to insufficient evidence.

Outside court, Mr Monaghan told reporters: "I've always said this was nothing to do with me. I'm just so glad it's over and now I can put it behind me."

During the 18-day trial, jurors heard that two masked men drew up to the Audi car Mr Carroll was in and shot him dead while he was trapped in the back seat, before speeding away.

Mr Carroll was shot in the head, chest, arm, hand, groin, back and abdomen, with one of the bullets leaving his brain exposed.

One witness recalled seeing fragments of skull on the back seat of the car, while another described the shooting as being like "another Dunblane".

A bullet was found lodged in the car's manual, suggesting that Mr Carroll had tried to use it to shield himself from the shower of bullets.

The murder weapons - a pistol and a revolver - were found by six council gardeners 13 days later, dumped behind Coatbridge Library in Academy Street, North Lanarkshire. The gardeners went on to handle and "pass them around" while wearing wet gloves.

DNA matching Mr Monaghan's was found on the pistol but forensics experts were unable to tell the trial how it got there as it was such a tiny amount.

The jury was told the size of the sample was "one billionth of a gram", or 0.1 of a nanogram. Humans shed on average 400,000 cells, each holding about one nanogram of DNA, every day, the court heard.

Jurors also heard there was DNA of "at least three other people" on the same gun.

Lord Brailsford said it was "impossible" to say whether Mr Monaghan's DNA had arrived there as a result of primary, secondary or tertiary means, and that a "more remote" transfer could not be excluded.

The Crown had argued that a second "covert" phone allegedly used by Mr Monaghan to contact another man implicated in the murder, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was "suspicious and sinister".

However, Lord Brailsford said he considered it "fatal to their conspiracy theory" that the apparent "covert" phone was last used 10 minutes before the meeting between Mr Carroll and Steven Glen was arranged.

The court heard that Mr Glen had set up the meeting after being "threatened" by Mr Carroll, who told him he would be selling drugs for him from then on.

Lord Brailsford also said no evidence had been led about a third phone which the Crown had argued was involved in the murder, despite police compiling a list of 99 suspects after Mr Carroll's death. Mr Monaghan was not on the police's suspect list.

Defence QC Derek Ogg made a legal submission to the court on Tuesday and Wednesday, arguing that the evidence was insufficient in law to convict Mr Monaghan.

Also on Tuesday, advocate depute Iain McSporran, deleted five of the seven charges against Mr Monaghan, which related to resetting the stolen vehicle used during the shooting and possessing guns and ammunition.

Lord Brailsford told the court: "I am unable to accept that the Crown's theory has any evidential basis.

"I uphold the no-case-to-answer speech and acquit the accused of charges two and seven (of murder and attempting to defeat the ends of justice)."

Strathclyde Police Assistant Chief Constable Ruaraidh Nicolson said: "The Chief Constable and everyone at the force is deeply concerned by the comments made by his lordship and is determined to get to the bottom of what has happened in this instance.

"This remains a live investigation and one named person is the subject of a European Arrest Warrant. As such, the police will continue to make inquiries and will do so in support of and under the direction of the Crown."

It can now be reported that a single particle of gunpowder residue was found on a jacket taken from Mr Monaghan's wardrobe but Lord Brailsford ruled that the finding was "of no evidential value".

Forensic expert Alison Colley, from the Scottish Police Service Authority (SPSA), told the hearing, which took place without the jury present, that a single particle was insufficient to draw any scientific conclusion from.

But she said she had been asked to form her conclusion using the particle at the request of a detective superintendent involved in the investigation.

The judge said he found her claim "disturbing".

He told the court: "Ms Colley informed the court that she had been requested to form her conclusions in the way she did by a DSI involved in the investigation. I'm bound to say I found this evidence disturbing.

"My understanding is that the SPSA is an independent body, distinct from the police, and its reports are intended to express independent expert statements of opinion."

Mr Monaghan lodged a special defence of incrimination, blaming eight other men for the death of Mr Carroll.

Said to be a senior figure in Glasgow's criminal underworld, Mr Carroll "was not short of an enemy or two" and was a "maniac" who was "out of control", the jury was told.

The trial heard that he was shot dead while in the company of two other men: his driver, John Bonner, and associate, Stephen McLaggan. They told the court they fled from the front seat of the Audi when they saw a Volkswagen Golf pull up next to them.

It also emerged that Mr Carroll had been locked in the car.

The court heard that Mr Carroll was trying to "move in" on other drug dealers and had told Mr Glen, an "independent", that he would be working for him from then on, during their conversation in the car park.

Mr Glen also said he had heard stories about Mr Carroll torturing, maiming and disfiguring his victims.

The trial heard evidence from Francis "Fraggle" Green, the son of senior Glasgow gangland figure Jamie Daniel, and the brother of Mr Carroll's partner, Kelly Green.

He said he had beaten police to the scene, after receiving a phone call about his friend's death.

Mr Green said he was phoned by Mr McLaggan, who told him: "Gerbil's dead."

He admitted eating his own Sim card to prevent police accessing information on it, and removing Mr Carroll's phone from his body.

PA

Arts & Entertainment
The original design with Charles' face clearly visible, which is on display around the capital
arts + ents The ad shows Prince Charles attired for his coronation in a crown and fur mantle with his mouth covered by a criss-cross of white duct tape
News
People White House officials refuse to make comment on 275,000 signatures that want Justin Bieber's US visa revoked
Sport
Mourinho lost his temper as well as the match
sportLiverpool handed title boost as Sunderland smash manager’s 77-game home league run
Voices
Sweet tweet: Victoria Beckham’s selfie, taken on her 40th birthday on Thursday
voices... and her career-long attack on the absurd criteria by which we define our 'betters', by Ellen E Jones
Sport
Mercedes Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain (front) drives ahead of Red Bull Formula One driver Daniel Ricciardo of Australia during the Chinese F1 Grand Prix at the Shanghai International circuit
sport Hamilton captured his third straight Formula One race with ease on Sunday, leading from start to finish to win the Chinese Grand Prix

Arts & Entertainment
Billie Jean King, who won the women’s Wimbledon title in 1967, when the first colour pictures were broadcast
tv
News
Snow has no plans to step back or reduce his workload
mediaIt's 25 years since Jon Snow first presented Channel 4 News, and his drive shows no sign of diminishing
Life & Style
food + drinkWhat’s not to like?
Voices
Clock off: France has had a 35‑hour working week since 1999
voicesThere's no truth to a law banning work emails after 6pm, but that didn’t stop media hysteria
Arts & Entertainment
Maisie Williams of Game of Thrones now
tvMajor roles that grow with their child actors are helping them to steal the show on TV
Arts & Entertainment
Kingdom Tower
architecture
Life & Style
Lana Del Rey, Alexa Chung and Cara Delevingne each carry their signature bag
fashionMulberry's decision to go for the super-rich backfired dramatically
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit