Bottle thrower had no ticket
ASHLEY Gill-Webb, the South Milford man who threw a bottle onto the track at this summer’s Olympics, got into the event without a valid ticket, a court heard last week.
The 34-year old threw a plastic beer bottle onto the track and hurled abuse at the competitors during the 100m final on August 5.
Stratford Magistrates’ Court in east London heard that Gill-Webb used expletive taunts, targeted at Usain Bolt, who went on to win the race.
Ticketless Gill-Webb pushed his way to the front of an exclusive seating area and started shouting taunts like: “Usain I want you to love, Usain you are bad.”
He then threw the beer bottle as the race started at the Olympic Stadium.
Gill-Webb was confronted by Dutch judoka Edith Bosch, then restrained by Locog volunteers and arrested.
Police never found any ticket on him for the final and the court heard that he had used an old ticket to get first into the Olympic Park, and then into the stadium, for the race.
The 34-year old denied intending to cause 100m finalists harassment, alarm or distress by using threatening, abusive or disorderly behaviour, thereby causing spectators present at the Olympic Park harassment, alarm or distress, contrary to Section 4(a) of the Public Order Act 1986. He also denied an alternative charge of using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour or disorderly behaviour within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress, contrary to Section 5 of the act.
His lawyers claim he was suffering from a manic episode at the time and could not form an intention to cause harassment, alarm or distress, but the Crown says that although he was unwell at the time, he knew what he was doing.
The court heard that Gill-Webb, who cannot remember throwing the bottle, had an urge to be involved in the Olympics on the day.
Questioning defence psychiatrist Dr Robert Adams, prosecutor Neil King described how Gill-Webb used an old ticket to get past tight security.
He said: “He passed through several steps waving an old ticket in front of people to get past security and that was a deliberate act...
“He thought ‘I want to get into the Olympics and I will do it by waving this ticket and it worked’.”
But Dr Adams told the court: “I don’t believe that he expected to get into the Olympic Park. I think he thought he would try it.
“He got into the Olympic Park and was in the Olympic Park for quite a while, and then he thought ‘I have got into the Olympic Park, maybe I can get into the stadium’.”
But consultant forensic psychiatrist Dr Richard Latham, for the prosecution, said although he agreed Gill-Webb was suffering from a manic episode, making him impulsive, elated, over-confident, and behaving unpredictably, that did not mean he was unable to form an intention.
Mr King said the offence happened as the Games reached their highlight with the men’s 100m final.
“In the stadium, along with the many thousands who should have been there legitimately and were watching the race in hushed anticipation, was also Mr Gill-Webb who it is now accepted was unwell at the time,” he said.
“He had somehow, without a ticket ever being found on him, made his way into very exclusive seats indeed. He was mingling with members of the Dutch Olympic team. Indeed he would be within striking distance of a bronze medallist, Ms Bosch.
“Whilst there, he hurled abuse towards the athletes, particularly towards the eventual winner Usain Bolt.”
He said Gill-Webb threw a green Heineken bottle in the hushed stadium just as the race was about to get under way, which was captured on CCTV.
Mr King said Gill-Webb’s “shouting and jostling” led to a confrontation with Dutch judo champion Bosch.
In a statement read to the court, the judoka said Gill-Webb pushed past her.
“I saw him begin to shout towards where the competitors were lining up to start the race,” she said.
“He repeated these taunts over and over, it went on and on for about two minutes.”
She described seeing him move his arm back behind his head, then forwards in a throwing motion, then saw a green bottle hit the track.
She confronted Gill-Webb, saying “Dude, are you crazy?” and added: “He was trying to walk away so I pushed him hard to stop him”.
The defendant told police he had nothing to do with throwing the bottle but had been “quite hyper” at the time. His DNA was later found on the bottle, but Detective Constable Kevin Guest said police never found a ticket for him.
Gill-Webb, who has since lost his job, had manic episodes in 1997 and 1999, the court heard, but he did not tell police about any mental health issues. He was sectioned after his first case management hearing at court, and was treated by Dr Adams at the Bootham Park Hospital in York.
He gave some “no comment” answers in interview, but suggested he was Scottish actor Alan Cumming, and signed his statement with the actor’s name, the court heard.
q The case was adjourned until this Friday, when it will resume at 10am _ follow regular updates on our website www.selbytimes.co.uk.
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