Reading machine gun murder: Accused 'with friends' during killing

Orts Road Estate
Image caption Terrance Allamby was killed on the Orts Road estate in Reading over an alleged drug gang dispute

A man accused of a machine gun murder 21 years ago has told a court he was with friends when the killing happened.

Terrance 'Jeff' Allamby was killed in Reading in September 1996 after an alleged drug gang dispute.

Howard Patterson, 52, denies murder and claimed he did not learn of Mr Allamby's death until two days later.

He said he used the identity of a homeless man to evade police and fled to the US after being falsely accused.

When asked by Michael Holland QC, for the defence, whether he was the gunman that evening, Mr Patterson replied, "no sir".

The jury at Reading Crown Court previously heard that Mr Allamby was killed on the Orts Road estate over a wages dispute between members of rival drug gangs.

He admitted working for the gang of which Mr Allamby was a part.

He told the court he worked as a security guard and spotter at the property in Morris Court in the town, where he said cannabis was grown and sold.

'Fake passport'

However, he claimed that he was visiting friends in London on the evening of Mr Allamby's death, after seeing his girlfriend.

Mr Patterson told the court that he was told of the shooting by an associate on the following Tuesday, after the incident on Sunday 29 September.

He said he was told that others were blaming him for the death, and added he had "no idea" why that was the case,

Jamaica-born Mr Patterson said he later met a homeless man in Brixton, London, who gave him his birth certificate, which he used to buy a fake passport and flee to the US.

He was extradited in March.

As well as murder, Patterson denies attempted murder and possession of an offensive weapon with intent to endanger life.

The trial continues.

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