Great Britain

Man who killed pensioner with crossbow jailed for at least 31 years

A man has been jailed for a minimum of 31 years after shooting a 74-year-old retired lecturer through the abdomen with a crossbow.

Pensioner Gerald Corrigan died from his injuries after he was struck by a crossbow bolt outside his home in Anglesey, North Wales, on Good Friday in April 2019, when he stepped outside to adjust a tv satellite.

A court has since ruled Terence Whall, 39, moved the satellite dish intentionally to lure his victim from his home, before shooting from behind a low stone wall with deadly accuracy.

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Mr Corrigan died of sepsis three weeks after the attack, with the horrific nature of the incident prompting then-Prime Minister Theresa May to implore members of the public to come forward with evidence.

However, as the court case progressed, Whall, originally from east London, refused to say why he had carried out the attack. He was sentenced to life at Mold Crown Court on Friday.

Handing down his sentence, the judge, Mrs Justice Jefford, said: "You have deprived Mr Corrigan's family of any explanation for what was a horrific death in which Mr Corrigan was completely blameless.

"For your own reasons you clearly had a plan to kill."

She added: "Your arrogant belief that you could get away murder was misplaced."

Speaking in court from behind a screen, Mr Corrigan's son Neale said through tears: "How can someone choose to use such a barbaric weapon on an old man?

"Did they really want to cause him a slow and painful death? Because that is what we witnessed and although God will ease the pain for us, we will never ever be able to forget that."

Also reading a statement from behind a screen, Mr Corrigan's partner, Marie Bailey, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, said: "It is a terrible inferno inside me every day, thinking of how Gerry was murdered and how he suffered”.

Prosecutor Anna Pope said Whall, who was heavily in debt, had given no motive for the killing, while there was no evidence of a connection between him and Mr Corrigan, who died in hospital on May 11.

However despite arguing the incident had been a “murder for gain”, the judge ruled it was “speculation” to say he had been paid to carry out the attack.

Whall initially claimed he was at home in Bryngwran, Anglesey, on the night of the shooting — but was caught out when the GPS data in his Land Rover Discovery was recovered.

He went on to tell the court he was in fact having a sexual encounter with friend Barry Williams in a nearby field. Mr Williams denied the claims.

Alongside his conviction for murder, Whall was handed a six-year concurrent sentence for conspiracy to pervert the course of justice following a plot to set alight the vehicle that had given his location away. It was discovered in a disused quarry two months after the crime was carried out.

Alongside Whall, Gavin Jones was jailed for five years for conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. The judge said the 36-year-old had been "integrally involved" in the plan.

Jones's brother, Darren Jones, 41, was sentenced to two years and 10 months for arson, and Martin Roberts, who turned 35 on the day of sentencing, was jailed for two years and four months for arson.

The two men had admitted on the fifth day of the trial to setting fire to the car, but the court heard that they had believed it was part of an insurance scam.

North Wales Police said a parallel fraud investigation was ongoing after claims that Mr Corrigan and Ms Bailey handed over £250,000 to convicted fraudster Richard Wyn Lewis.

Additional reporting by PA.