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Last Updated: Monday, 10 January, 2005, 18:19 GMT
Dead girl's sister tells of shots
Cheryl Shaw (left) and Sophia Ellis (right) at Leicester Crown Court
Cheryl Shaw and Sophia Ellis were injured in the shootings
The twin sister of one of two teenage girls killed at a New Year party has described to a jury how she was badly injured by shots from a passing car.

Sophie Ellis, now 20, was standing outside a hairdressing salon at Aston, Birmingham, early on 2 January 2003, when she heard "repeated" gunfire.

Then people were trying to talk to her to keep her conscious, she said.

Five men deny murdering her sister Charlene and 17-year-old friend Letisha Shakespeare, at Leicester Crown Court.

'Everyone flinched'

Giving evidence, Miss Ellis told prosecutor Timothy Raggatt QC a group of partygoers had been outside because it was too hot inside the salon.

Asked about her recollections of the shooting, she said: "The time that I knew something was wrong was the time when I was shot.

"Everyone sort of flinched... I think I turned to look what was going on then before I knew it, I was on the floor."

(Johnson Crew) are a crew of people, a gang, a crew of men. A gang to terrorise people.
Sophie Ellis

Miss Ellis told the court she remembered defendant Jermaine Carty - whom she knew by his street name of "Wooligan" - being at the party.

The jury has heard that the fatal shots were allegedly fired from a red Ford Mondeo which was driving slowly around the back of the salon on Churchill Parade at about 0408 GMT.

The prosecution has alleged the shootings were a "botched" revenge attack by one street gang on members of a rival "crew", some of whom were at the party.

Miss Ellis told Mr Raggatt that she was aware of two gangs called the Johnson Crew and the Burger Bar.

Half-brother

Of the Johnson Crew, she said: "They're a crew of people, a gang, a crew of men. A gang to terrorise people."

Asked about the Burger Bar, she added: "They're also a gang of terrorists."

Miss Ellis said she shared a father with one of the defendants, Marcus Ellis, but that she had seen him "no more than 10 times" in her life.

Miss Ellis confirmed there was animosity between her mother, Beverley Thomas, and father, Arthur Ellis, and Marcus Ellis was never part of her family.

Five men - Marcus Ellis, 24, Michael Gregory, 23, Nathan Martin, 26, Rodrigo Simms, 20, and 22-year-old Tafarwa Beckford - deny two joint counts of murder.

Mr Ellis, of Devonshire Road, Winson Green, Birmingham; Mr Gregory, of Ryland Street, Ladywood, also Birmingham; Mr Martin, of St Albans Road, Smethwick, West Midlands; Mr Simms, of Whitehouse Drive, also Smethwick; and Mr Beckford, of Duchess Road, Ladywood, also deny three counts of attempted murder.

They relate to injuries sustained by Sophie Ellis and her cousin Cheryl Shaw, who was shot in the hand, and to Leon Harris, who escaped injury in the attack.

A sixth man, Jermaine Carty, 24, of Chain Walk, Lozells, denies two firearms offences.

The trial continues.




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