NATASHA Derby was killed by a "home-made" bullet, a firearms expert revealed at her murder trial last week.

Michael Vaughan, a gun specialist, said he believed the bullet was "home made" as it was an "improvised" metallic object for a modified cartridge case.

The expert, with 13 years experience, also ruled out Natasha having been hit by the bullet after a ricochet. There was "no evidence" to back this theory as the wound to Natasha was circular.

Natasha, 23, of the YMCA, Crest Road, High Wycombe, was killed after being struck on the dance floor of a Ragga night at the Multi Racial Centre in High Wycombe in September 2004.

On Thursday, jurors at Reading Crown Court heard how defendant Dwayne Haughton, 29, of Reading, told police there was "something wrong man" when challenged with the findings of fingerprint tests on the casing found near Natasha.

In an interview, following Haughton's arrest in November, DC Paul Woodham asked: "How did that girl Natasha come to be shot in the head with a bullet we found the casing of with your fingerprints on?"

In the interviews, Haughton told police "no comment" and added "I am being straight with you", the court heard. Haughton also admitted to police to being called "Vicious", the jury was told.

Haughton was arrested after giving a witness statement on September 26 last year and was fingerprinted.

Continued from page one Opening the case, prosecutor Michael Wood said Haughton was responsible for the "motiveless killing" of Natasha. He added that Haughton was to the right of the hall, and Natasha when she was struck above her right ear. No other shots were fired and no other bullet cases were found, he said.

However, Haughton claims he was standing by speakers to Natasha's left and could not have fired the fatal shot. Revellers described the bang as a "popping sound" like a champagne cork.

However, Robert Lawrence, a sound system engineer, thought someone may have fired a starting pistol. In Jamaica it is sometime known for shots to be fired while a song is played, said Mr Lawrence.

None of the witnesses appearing at court saw the gun, but one reveller, who is now missing said he did. In a revised statement to police student Benjamin Kapka said: "I saw a hand outstretched holding a gun, but I did not want to look at the man holding the gun."

The court heard Home Office pathologists say the bullet had struck Natasha from her right at a 90 degree angle to the side of her head and lodged in her brain.

A 9mm cartridge case for a bullet was found on the dance floor nestled between some beer bottles. Forensic scientist Robert Bone managed to take a print from the 2cm cartridge. He told the court: "This is the first time we have had a useable print on a cartridge case this size."

Under cross examination from Haughton's counsel Anthony Evans, Mr Bone said it was possible someone else could have touched the case and not left a print.

Haughton denies a charge of murder, a charge of manslaughter and possession of ammunition without a certificate.

The trial continues.

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