A FAMILY is still searching for answers more than two decades after a man was gunned down after a suspect in the case was cleared of murder.

Terrence 'Jeff' Allamby died after he was shot in the chest twice at Morriss Court on September 29 in 1996.

Howard Patterson was cleared of murder, attempted murder and possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life following a four-week trial at Reading Crown Court on Thursday.

A jury heard how Patterson fled to the US and used the alias Vincent Richards after he was blamed for the death of Allamby and a 'bounty' was put on his head.

The 52-year-old was sentenced to five years in prison on Friday after he was convicted of possession with intent to supply cocaine, possessing an identity document with intent and making a false statement to obtain a passport.

Allison Hunter, prosecuting, said: "Patterson has assumed this false identity and committed a range of criminal offences before leaving the country with this passport."

Patterson told the court he was visiting friends in Birmingham on the night of the murder and was stunned when a friend told him he was being blamed.

He was extradited from the States after he was arrested for trespassing and was detained by police at Heathrow Airport in March.

Michael Holland, defending, said a bounty of £25,000 was put on Patterson's head.

He added: "We would submit that given he was acquitted in relation to the murder that the time spent in extradition should be taken into account."

He was also accused of attempting to murder Henroy Dryden, who managed to escape after a bullet hit a gun which was strapped to his waist.

Patterson was convicted in 2011 after police found 20 wraps of cocaine on his person and he fled to America.

Judge Johanna Cutts said: "Terrence Allamby was murdered and you were both heavily involved in the large scale supply of cannabis. You were cleared of all charges relating to murder.

"The reason you left the country was to avoid the consequences for the drug offences and you absconded by using a false passport."

Patterson was sentenced to five years in prison and will serve half on licence.