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Murder trial hears woman told police she recognised defendant in CCTV footage

A woman told police that a man accused of murder claimed he had shot someone in the head and made her fear that she could be next, a murder trial heard yesterday.

The woman told officers that defendant Taaj Muhammad told her he had shot someone months after the fatal shooting of Ronniko Burchall in St David’s.

She said in the taped statement to police that Mr Muhammad had told her he had dropped the gun used in the attack in the sea as he swam to St George’s.

The witness, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, added that the comments made her feel “threatened”.

She added: “I was scared. I felt frightened. I was afraid that I might be the next one.”

Mr Muhammad, 26, from St George’s, has pleaded not guilty to the 2018 murder of Mr Burchall at St David’s County Cricket Club and a charge that he used a firearm to carry out the offence.

The jury was shown video footage of the woman at the police serious crime unit recorded in July 2020.

She was asked to watch CCTV footage of the St David’s County Cricket Club car park from the time of the shooting and talk about what she saw.

The witness told officers that even though she could not see the face of the culprit, she was certain that the gunman was Mr Muhammad based on his build and how he ran.

She said Mr Muhammad was 5ft 8in or 5ft 9in tall, of slim build, with long arms and lanky legs.

The woman added that she recognised his “limp” — and explained that he ran as if skipping.

She said that the gunman appeared to adjust his pants in the footage.

The witness told the officers Mr Muhammad often had to hold his pants up because he wore them below his waist.

The witness said that she had known Mr Muhammad since they were at school together and started dating him in February 2019.

But she added in April or May of that year that he had talked about how he had shot someone in the head.

The woman said she was convinced it was a reference to the murder of Mr Burchall, whom she knew as “Warrior”, because he had been shot in the head.

She told police she had “no doubt” that the man she had seen in the cricket club CCTV footage was Mr Muhammad.

The court heard earlier that Mr Burchall, 30, was shot in the head at point-blank range in the early hours of December 29, 2018, as he left a Christmas party at the cricket club.

He died in hospital the next day.

A witness told the court on Monday that he heard gunshots just after 1.30am, moments after Mr Burchall walked down the stairs and out of the club.

The man said the gunman was about 5ft 9in, of slim build and wearing a grey hoodie with the hood up.

He added that he ran inside the club and when he looked out again he saw the gunman run up a set of stairs and around a nearby building.

The trial, before Acting Puisne Judge Juan Wolffe, continues.

It is The Royal Gazette’s policy not to allow comments on stories regarding criminal court cases. This is to prevent any statements being published that may jeopardise the outcome of that case.