Teen 'may have accidentally shot friend in head'

A teenager may have shot his childhood friend in the head when the gun went off "inadvertently" before he fatally shot himself, an inquest has heard.

Jaydon Beckford, 17, was found dead near a canal in Birmingham on 10 November, five days after he is believed to have shot his friend, 16-year-old Diego Henry.

The pair had been with another friend at the home Jaydon shared with his mother in Lighthorne Avenue, Ladywood, on 5 November when Diego was shot.

The "working hypothesis was that it was accidental discharge," Det Sgt David Newson, of West Midlands Police, told the inquest into Diego's death.

It heard Jaydon was seen on CCTV running away towards the city's canal system.

He and the other friend were being treated as suspects for attempted murder which was upgraded to murder after Diego's life support was turned off two days later.

Jaydon was being treated as a suspect and was found dead near a canal, Det Sgt Newson said, adding that under the body "was a handgun, a revolver".

Expert evidence indicated he had died from a self-inflicted shot to the head.

Det Sgt Newson said: "We came to the view that there wasn't evidence to link the third friend to the shooting of Diego. Jaydon was more likely the perpetrator of the act.

"There is no evidence there was any animosity between them."

Police tent
Jaydon's body was discovered on land next to a canal [BBC]

Area coroner James Bennett said it seemed to him "on the balance of probabilities, the evidence supports the gun going off inadvertently and it was not malicious".

He added: "There is a degree of uncertainty about what exactly happened, so I think it is best if I simply return a conclusion that Diego's death was the consequence of a single gunshot wound to the head."

'Infectious laugh'

Ballistics expert Huw Griffiths said the trajectory of the bullet would have been "difficult" to achieve had he shot himself, but added he could not rule out that the injury was self-inflicted.

In a statement read to Birmingham Coroner's Court, Diego's mother, Donna Johnson, said she was heartbroken at the loss of her youngest child, who went to City Academy and was hoping to pursue a construction apprenticeship.

She said: "He lit up the room with his dancing, his jokes and his infectious laugh and would be remembered for his love of music."

In a statement, Jaydon's mother Leah Hussain said she heard laughing and chatting before she fell asleep and was later woken by a bang at about 12:30 GMT which she initially thought may have been a neighbour setting off a firework until she heard the other friend shout "phone an ambulance".

In an interview with police, the other friend at the scene of the shooting gave a statement saying he was good friends with Diego and Jaydon and the trio had been getting on well.

He said he was "not in custody, control or possession of the firearm".

An inquest into Jaydon's death is also expected to be heard at the same court on Thursday.

Follow BBC Birmingham on Facebook, X and Instagram. Send your story ideas to: newsonline.westmidlands@bbc.co.uk

More on this story

Related internet links