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Last Updated: Friday, 5 August 2005, 13:40 GMT 14:40 UK
Toddler's death was 'inevitable'
Andrew Morton
Andrew Morton died after being shot near his home
The brain injury of a toddler shot dead with an airgun was "not survivable", a high court trial has been told.

The pellet went into Andrew Morton's head at a point behind and above his right ear and continued straight through to the front without exiting.

Forensic pathologist John Clark told the High Court in Glasgow that because the two-year-old's skull had not developed fully he could not survive.

Mark Bonini denies murdering Andrew in Easterhouse, Glasgow, on 2 March.

Andrew's skull was only two millimetres thick at the entry point, whereas an adult skull at the same point would be up to one centimetre thick.

From the moment the pellet penetrated his skull death was inevitable because of the amount of damage it caused and the fact he was so deeply unconscious
Dr John Clark
Forensic pathologist
Dr Clark, from Glasgow University, said that the child never regained consciousness after being taken from the Royal Infirmary to the Southern General neurosurgical unit.

The track of the wound had caused severe damage to vital structures stopping oxygen reaching the brain and causing unconsciousness.

Mr Bonini, 27, from Craigend in Glasgow, denies murdering the youngster, but has admitted a charge of culpable homicide.

Andrew was in his 13-year-old brother, Brian McMillan's arms, when he was shot, with another youth, Bryan Kerr, 15, standing nearby.

Dr Clark said on Friday: "From the moment the pellet penetrated his skull death was inevitable because of the amount of damage it caused and the fact he was so deeply unconscious."

Fingertip search

The doctor, who carried out a post mortem on Andrew, also said he doubted whether, if the air pellet had struck the other boys at the same spot in the head, it would have penetrated their skulls.

Dr Clark revealed there had been cases of adults dying after being shot with an air gun pellet, although a study in England and Wales over 20 years revealed less than one fatality a year.

Most of the fatalities were caused by entry points at the temple, the thinnest part of the skull, through the eye, or the spaces in between the ribs.

The jury heard that 19 pellets were found in the area after a fingertip search by police.

'Don't shoot'

They also heard that when Mr Bonini was charged he told detectives that he was shocked the "wee guy" was dead.

Earlier on Friday, a witness to the shooting was accused of lying to cover up for a friend.

Christopher Queen denied he and Kevin Bonini made up a conversation in which Kevin told the accused, who was his cousin, not to fire an airgun at another man.

It was alleged that Kevin Bonini told Mark Bonini not to shoot as the man "had a wean in his arms".

The crown has rejected Mr Bonini's plea of guilty to culpable homicide and is seeking a conviction on a murder charge.

The defendant was originally charged with 16 offences but the crown dropped 15, leaving the murder charge only.

The trial before Lord Brodie continues.

Toddler 'shot in brother's arms'
04 Aug 05 |  Scotland
Cousin saw accused shoot toddler
03 Aug 05 |  Scotland
Toddler shooting trial under way
02 Aug 05 |  Scotland

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