A man who shot his friend in the head at point-blank range has been found not guilty of murder.
A jury ruled that Jordan Bassett had not intentionally killed Addison Packeer who died after being shot with a Luger 9mm handgun inside a flat in Chepstow Close, Willenhall, in December last year.
However, Bassett – who had pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Mr Packeer – was found guilty of possession of a prohibited weapon with intent to endanger life.
He will be sentenced on Wednesday (June 26).
During his trial at Warwick Crown Court, 25-year-old Bassett, of Tintagel Close, Willenhall, told the jury: “Words can’t describe how I feel. Devastated.
“Addison was my friend, I would never want to hurt him.”
Giving evidence, Bassett said he had not seen the gun before Mr Packeer took it from his waistband and put it on the table as they sat in a flat in Chepstow Close on December 7 last year.
Bassett said his gloves were on the table and Mr Packeer put them on and “began playing around with the firearm”, which he said was in one piece at that time.
“He was just messing around with the firearm, just playing around with it in his hand. I was eating my food,” he told the jury.
“I was looking, but at the same time I was watching the television.
“While I was eating my food he was pointing the firearm around and he pointed it at my knee, and I told him to move it away. He was just messing around, there was no bad vibes in the room whatsoever.”
Watch: The police cordon set up following the fatal shooting of Addison Packeer
Of what happened next, Bassett said: “I did put the gloves on and pick up the firearm. Addison was eating his food and I was bored. I didn’t want to touch the gun without gloves on.
“I was just pointing the firearm around, messing around. I didn’t think it was loaded. The magazine was on the table.
“I pointed the gun at Wayne and we were laughing and joking, and Addison was laughing. I turned round to Addison and the gun’s gone off.
“When Addison was messing around with it he’d told me it wasn’t loaded.”
The court heard that Bassett took the gun, magazine and casing from the fired bullet away from the flat and threw them in to water at a quarry near his home.
He said he then went to his uncle’s home to get changed “because my clothes were covered in Addison’s blood”.
But he said he put the clothes in a bag “because I knew I was going to go to the police station to tell them what happened”.
He first went to stay with a cousin in Stoke-on-Trent, then returned and went to Coventry police station where he handed over the bag of clothes and told officers where to find the gun.
The prosecution had accused Bassett of intentionally firing the gun and “when he did he intended to shoot Addison Packeer, and intended to kill him or cause him really serious harm”.
Prosecutor Kevin Hegarty QC added: “How else do you shoot another person in the head? What else could you have in mind as you pull the trigger of a gun?”
Mr Hegarty said Bassett and Mr Packeer had been talking about drugs in the minutes before he was shot and the pair had the gun to “enforce their will” on others with regards to their involvement with drugs.
However, the jury returned a not guilty verdict on murder against Bassett, but did convict him of possession of the weapon with intent to endanger life.