Liverpool

Crossbow murder: Bootle man convicted of shooting friend in van row

David Ball and Lee Atkins Image copyright Police handout
Image caption David Ball (left) denied murder claiming it was an accident

A man who killed his friend with a crossbow after they brawled in the street over a van crash has been found guilty of his murder.

Drug user David Ball, 50, fired the weapon at Lee Atkins, 38, in Monfa Street, Bootle, Merseyside in May.

Liverpool Crown Court heard the "senseless attack" happened minutes after Mr Atkins accused Ball of nearly killing him in a crash.

Ball who denied murder claiming it was accidental will be sentenced on Monday.

The jury heard Ball and Mr Atkins clashed after Ball twice dented the stolen van he had been driving.

They were separated by a friend, Kevin Riley, who then also fought with Mr Atkins in Monfa Road, Bootle, the court heard.

Meanwhile, Ball went into Mr Riley's loft, where Ball had stored the crossbow, and armed himself with it.

"He took it outside and as [Mr] Riley watched in horror, he fired a shot into the abdomen of Lee Atkins," prosecutor Richard Pratt QC said.

"The bolt penetrated deeply into [his] abdomen and caused extensive internal bleeding."

Mr Atkins died in hospital a few hours later.

Image caption Mr Atkins was shot in the stomach in Monfa Road, Bootle

"This was a senseless attack on a completely defenceless man," Victoria Colvin from the Crown Prosecution Service said.

"To shoot someone with a crossbow at close range as a result of a squabble cannot begin to be justified."

Judge Neil Flewitt, QC, praised the victim's family great dignity "in the face of the complete disregard shown to them and the court by Ball.

During the trial, Ball repeatedly swore at the prosecutor Mr Pratt telling him to "shut up".

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