Driffield crossbow killer altered bolts to make them 'lethal'

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image captionShane Gilmer and Laura Sugden were shot in a "premeditated" crossbow attack in their home in Southburn, near Driffield

A man who killed his neighbour and injured a pregnant woman with a crossbow had altered the bolts to make them "lethal", an inquest has heard.

Anthony Lawrence, 55, shot Shane Gilmer, 30, and his partner Laura Sugden in their home near Driffield, East Yorkshire, on 12 January 2018.

He fled the scene and was found dead two days later in a lay-by in North Yorkshire, Hull Coroners Court heard.

Jurors were told there was evidence the killer had grown cannabis at his home.

Lawrence, who had been served with an eviction notice after the couple made a complaint about cannabis smells from his property, broke into their home in Southburn through an adjoining loft hatch on 12 January and waited in a bedroom for them to return home before launching the "premeditated attack".

Giving evidence on the third day of the hearing, Det Sgt Julian Gibbs, of Humberside Police, showed the court images of the kitchen and bedrooms in Lawrence's home where he had altered crossbow bolts to make them "lethal".

Officers also discovered three crossbows in the property and a device attached to an adjoining wall so he could listen to the couple, Mr Gibbs said.

image copyrightHumberside Police
image captionLawrence was found dead from a drugs overdose in a motor home parked in a lay-by on Red Brow in the North York Moors, the jury heard

Senior Coroner Prof Paul Marks previously heard how Mr Gilmer had told a 999 call handler, after he had been shot, that Lawrence had been listening to the couple's conversations for a year.

Mr Gibbs said Lawrence was "a loner with no immediate friends".

"Had Tony Lawrence been alive he would have been charged with the murder of Shane Gilmer and the attempted murder of Laura Sugden," added Mr Gibbs.

Mr Gilmer, who was shot through his arm and torso, died in hospital in the early hours of 13 January.

image captionThe couple lived next door to Lawrence, who got into their home by breaking an adjoining loft wall

Earlier in the day, jurors heard he would have had "a greater" chance of survival if the emergency services had arrived 10 minutes earlier at the scene.

Dr Fiona Moore, a consultant in emergency medicine, told the jury: "I'd say he would've improved but I don't think I can clearly say he would've survived."

The jury also heard a transcript of a phone call Mr Gilmer had made to police a year before his death about an incident in which Lawrence had threatened him with an axe after he asked him to turn down his music.

The inquest continues.

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