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Saturday, 21 April 2012

Gangster 'tried to shield himself with car manual from hail of bullets'

01:26 |

COURT heard that today that gangland figure Kevin "Gerbil" Carroll may have tried to to defend himself from a hail of bullets by holding up an Audi car manual. Ronald Withers, 67, a forensic scientist specialising in firearms, said eight bullets were fired into the car Carroll was sitting in at an Asda supermarket car park, hitting his head, chest, arm and hand. Mr Withers was present at the crime scene and the post-mortem examination of Carroll's body, as well as examining firearms found later at a different scene. In a report, he concluded that Carroll, 29 had been shot by two different guns – a revolver and a pistol. The revolver, which could only hold five bullets, was fired five times, he said. Two bullets entered Carroll's abdomen, one entered his groin area and another went into his back. Mr Withers said one other bullet could have caused damage to Carroll's fingers. It was recovered in the acoustic foam of the Audi in which he was killed. Advocate depute Iain McSporran asked: "So, effectively every shot that was fired, hit?" Mr Withers replied: "Yes." He was giving evidence at the trial of Ross Monaghan, 30, who is accused of murdering Carroll in Robroyston, Glasgow, on January 13 2010, by repeatedly shooting him. The High Court in Glasgow was told eight bullets were fired into the car by the pistol, injuring Carroll's head, chest, arm and hand. The court heard that one of the shots had left Mr Carroll's brain "exposed". A bullet was removed from his skull while a fragment of it was removed from his brain. Mr Withers said a bullet was found within the Audi car manual and said it was possible Mr Carroll had tried to defend himself by holding it up. Two other bullets found at the scene were said to have been ejected manually after the shooter had "difficulty" firing them. Mr McSporran said: "So the gunman experienced some difficulty, removed them and continued firing?" Mr Withers answered: "That's what happened, yes." The jury was also told today that a small mount of DNA found on the grip plate of a gun was a "perfect match" to Monaghan. Forensic scientist Pauline McSorley, 55, said she took wet and dry swabs from the right-hand grip plate of a black handgun discovered near a car park in Academy Street, Coatbridge, and found it contained DNA profiles of "at least three people". The Scottish Police Services Authority employee said the majority of it, or the "major source", matched that of Monaghan. He is also alleged to have disposed of a revolver, a pistol and ammunition in undergrowth in Academy Street. Ms McSorley said there was a "one in a billion" probability of the DNA sample matching someone else's. Mr McSporran asked her: "So, in scientific terms, it was a perfect match?" She replied: "Yes." She said that as it was such a small amount, she would be unable to conclude how it got there. Ms McSorley told the court: "A low-level amount of DNA can be transferred directly or indirectly, so I can't give you a whole-hearted explanation of how it got there." Mr McSporran gave her a number of scenarios, including if Monaghan had handled the gun or if he had been in the same place as it without touching it. She said: "I would consider them all equally." The court heard that Monaghan provided police with cells from inside his mouth in July 2010. During cross-examination, the court heard the Scottish Police Services Authority had launched an inquiry after the DNA of a member of staff who was not involved in analysing the gun samples was found on the swab inside a test tube. Ms McSorley said it was likely that the woman had handled the test tube, leaving her DNA on the outside, but the introduction of liquid could have meant that it was "washed inside". The jury was told that the size of the sample matching Monaghan was "one billionth of a gram", or 0.1 of an nanogram. Humans shed on average 400,000 cells, each holding about one nanogram of DNA, every day, the court heard. Ms McSorley agreed with Monaghan's defence QC Derek Ogg that trace elements of DNA could be "highly mobile" and invisible. She also agreed that a person would not even have to be in the same room as an object for their DNA to be found on it, as it could be carried from one place to another on a "moveable item" through secondary transfer. Mr Ogg used an example in court by pulling out a carrier bag, which he said he, his partner and his dog had all come into contact with. He asked Ms McSorley if DNA from all three of them could be in the courtroom, despite his partner and dog never having been there. She said: "Yes, that's possible. But it would be mixed with the DNA of everyone else in the room." Monaghan denies all the charges against him.

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