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Last Updated: Monday, 30 January 2006, 22:31 GMT
Soldier on leave 'shot by mugger'
Narel Sharpe
Narel Sharpe had served in Kosovo and Iraq
A soldier shot dead just hours after arriving back in the UK on leave was probably killed because he fought back against a mugger, a jury has heard.

Narel Sharpe had returned to Smethwick, West Midlands in September 2004 for his 21st birthday and his mother's 40th.

Levi Walker, 26, from Edgbaston, Birmingham, denies murder.

Chervaun Whitehouse, 21, of Smethwick and a 16-year-old boy deny perverting the course of justice by helping to dispose of a pistol.

The boy is also charged with possessing a banned firearm.

Phone box

Stafford Crown Court heard Mr Sharpe, a member of the Queen's Royal Hussars who had served in Iraq and Kosovo, was travelling back from Germany where he was based.

He stopped to use a phone box in Oldbury Road, Smethwick, where he was allegedly approached by Mr Walker and shot, the court was told.

Prosecutor Anthony Barker said Mr Walker killed Mr Sharpe after trying to steal his chain.

"He (Mr Sharpe) was killed because he was wearing a gold chain around his neck and probably because he fought back.

"He was a young man, brought up in the area, left school at 16 to join the British Army to be the pride of his family," he said.

A witness heard a shot and saw a man bending over Mr Sharpe, taking something from his neck, Mr Barker said.

Other witnesses saw someone running away from a body on the ground.

Mr Whitehouse made a false statement to police to help cover what Mr Walker had done, the prosecutor added.

The jury was also told police found gun shot residue was found on the 16-year-old's clothes.

The trial continues.

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