Lottah murder trial jury shown shotgun used by accused

Launceston Supreme Court.
Launceston Supreme Court.

A murder trial jury has been shown the weapon used in the shooting of Lottah man Dean Manshanden.

Ballistics expert Senior Constable Simon Taylor pulled out the 12-gauge shotgun during the sixth day of the trial in the Launceston Supreme Court on Monday.

Mr Manshanden’s neighbour, Kerry Alexander Bilston, has been charged with his murder but has pleaded not guilty.

Throughout the trial the jury heard Mr Bilston was an experienced shooter and had told police he aimed above the victim’s head to show him he was armed – the pair had been in an ongoing dispute over their properties.

Explaining to the jury how a shotgun works, Senior Constable Taylor said a projectile fired from the weapon would “naturally drop due to gravity”.

Defence lawyer Greg Hoare questioned Senior Constable Taylor about other guns located by police at Mr Bilston’s home after Mr Manshanden was shot in the head.

One of those weapons was a .234 rifle.

“If the accused wanted to drop a man and kill him, that [.234 rifle] would have been really good for that purpose wouldn’t it?” he asked.

“Yes,” Senior Constable Taylor responded.

The court previously heard Mr Bilston chose to load his gun with a solid slug, rather than pellets, which spread, to avoid the chance of hitting Mr Manshanden. Director of Public Prosecutions Daryl Coates asked Senior Constable Taylor whether pellets would have more force than a slug, even if they spread.

“No … with a solid slug all of the energy is in one item. The lethal capacity [of pellets] isn’t as great,” Senior Constable Taylor said.


Having examined the scene of the shooting, the shotgun used and the body of the victim, Senior Constable Taylor said Mr Manshanden was “looking away from the shooter at the time of being hit”.

“Did you attend the postmortum?” Mr Coates asked Senior Constable Taylor.

“Yes I did,” he replied.

“What conclusion did you make?” Mr Coates continued.

“A projectile has struck the victim in the back of the head, about 13 centimetres from the top of the head, and exited the left side, just in front of the ear,” Senior Constable Taylor explained while referring to photos of Mr Manshanden’s body.

The trial before Justice Robert Pearce will continue on Tuesday.