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Last Updated: Tuesday, 9 August 2005, 18:03 GMT 19:03 UK
Man convicted of toddler's murder
Mark Bonini
Face of a killer: Police release a picture of Mark Bonini
A 27-year-old man has been found guilty of the murder of Glasgow toddler Andrew Morton.

The two-year-old died after being hit on the head with an airgun pellet near his home in the Easterhouse area of the city on 2 March.

Mark Bonini had admitted firing the shot which killed the toddler but denied murder.

Sentence was deferred for a month by Lord Brodie following the verdict but he warned Bonini he faced life.

'Shocked community'

A jury of eight men and seven women took just over two-and-a-half hours to reach the verdict at the High Court in Glasgow.

Lord Brodie said: "The jury have convicted you of murder. I have only one sentence available to me, that is a sentence of life imprisonment."

The judge will decide on the punishment part of Bonini's sentence, the number of years he will spend behind bars, on 30 August following background reports.

Bonini's eyes widened as the verdict was delivered in court, but he displayed no other emotion.

Sharon McMillan
He's [Bonini] an animal, he's a menace to society. But he can't harm any more children now
Sharon McMillan
Andrew's mother

As they left the courtroom members of Andrew Morton's family hugged each other.

The toddler's mother, Sharon McMillan, branded Bonini "an animal" when she left the court on Tuesday.

Ms McMillan said: "It doesn't really matter because it's not going to bring Andrew back. He's [Bonini] an animal, he's a menace to society. But he can't harm any more children now."

She repeated her call for airguns to be banned in Scotland.

"I'll still be fighting our campaign to bring in Andrew's Law. I think it (the verdict) will make my campaign stronger.

"Most people think that they're toys but they're lethal weapons.

"There's no reason for them to be on housing estates, no reason for people to carry them about on our streets."

'Tremendous support'

Detective Inspector Robbie Allan, the officer who had been in charge of the investigation, said he hoped the verdict "brings some comfort to the family of Andrew Morton".

He added: "This tragic case shocked the entire community in Easterhouse and beyond. Everyone was understandably outraged by the horrific events of 2 March.

"Cases such as these have a huge impact on the officers involved, and each and every officer was committed to bringing the person responsible to justice. However, we could not have achieved this without the tremendous support of the local community.

"The death of Andrew outraged locals in Easterhouse and they provided great assistance to the police. I would like to thank everyone who came forward and offered their support - we are extremely grateful."

Andrew Morton
Andrew Morton died after being shot near his home

The toddler was being carried by his older brother Brian, 13, when he was shot in the head by Bonini.

The pair had been on their way to the local chip shop when the shooting occurred.

Giving evidence, Brian Morton said that he heard a "pop" and then noticed blood was coming from the back of his brother's head.

Giving evidence via a video link, the teenager said he had stopped to let Andrew watch some fire engines along with his friend Brian Kerr, 15.

Window boast

The friend also gave evidence via video link.

He told the trial: "I heard a loud popping, like chewing gum popping when you blow a bubble.

"Andrew put his hand to the side of his head and said: 'Ouch'."

Brian Kerr added that when Andrew's brother put his hand onto the toddler's head and took it away it was "covered in blood".

He told the court that his first thought was that the toddler had been shot by an air rifle.

The trial also heard from Christopher Queen, 22, who was in Bonini's flat at the time of the shooting.

He told the court that Bonini said "this is where I shoot the school children in the morning" as he opened the bedroom window.

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