Ballistics expert shows murder trial jury how antique revolver works

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A ballistics expert has demonstrated to a jury how an antique revolver alleged to have been used to kill a Met police custody sergeant worked as the second day of a murder trial got under way.

Members of the jury in the trial of Louis De Zoysa, 25, who is accused of murdering Sergeant Matt Ratana, 54, at a custody block in Croydon, south London, on September 25 2020 while he was handcuffed, were allowed to hold the gun and fire it at Northampton Crown Court on Thursday.

Forensic scientist and ballistics expert Anthony Miller explained that the gun was loaded with dummy bullets and was completely safe to be used in the court room, although it was aimed at the ceiling while being fired as an extra precaution.

Mr Miller told the court he had examined the revolver and the ammunition that was recovered after the incident.

Louis de Zoysa court sketch
Court artists sketch of Louis De Zoysa, who is accused of murder (Elizabeth Cook/PA)

Speaking in short and simple sentences so De Zoysa, who suffered brain damage after being hit in the neck by a bullet during the incident, could follow proceedings, Mr Miller said: “I dropped it on the ground, I struck it with a cloth-faced hammer and I generally treated it roughly.”

The prosecution alleges De Zoysa “pulled the trigger on purpose four times” while he was handcuffed in a holding room at the custody centre, with the first and second shots hitting Sgt Ratana, the third hitting the wall during a struggle with officers and a fourth hitting De Zoysa himself.

They say the gun and holster were “probably concealed under one of his armpits”.

He had been arrested on London Road, Norbury, south London, during the early hours of September 25 2020 after a stop and search by officers found he had cannabis and seven rounds of ammunition on him, put handcuffed in the back of a police van and taken to the custody centre.

De Zoysa, who sat in the dock in a wheelchair alongside an intermediary, has denied murder.

Imran Khan KC, for De Zoysa, told the jury on Wednesday that the defendant was suffering an autistic meltdown at the time of the shooting and “did not mean to or want to kill Sergeant Ratana, or to cause him really serious harm”.

The trial continues.

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