Howard Patterson cleared of 1996 machine gun murder

Image caption,
Terrance Allamby was killed on the Orts Road estate in Reading in 1996

A man extradited from the US to stand trial for a machine gun killing 21 years ago has been acquitted.

Howard Patterson, 52, was extradited in March, accused of murdering Terrance "Jeff" Allamby, 43, in a block of flats in Reading in 1996.

He denied the charges and told Reading Crown Court he had left the UK after being wrongly implicated.

Mr Patterson was acquitted of murder, attempted murder and possession of a weapon after a three-week trial.

He admitted working for a gang that Mr Allamby was a member of.

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

The jury heard Mr Allamby was killed in Morris Court on the Orts Road estate over a wages dispute between members of the gang.

Prosecutor Allison Hunter said "everyone panicked" in the block after four shots were fired, with two bullets hitting Mr Allamby.

Mr Patterson told the court he was visiting friends in London on the evening of Mr Allamby's death, after seeing his girlfriend.

He said he did not learn of Mr Allamby's death until two days later, adding he used the identity of a homeless man to evade police and later go to the US in 2011 after being falsely accused.

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

A weapon was never recovered.

Mr Patterson was found not guilty of attempting to murder Henroy Dryden, who was also shot.