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Selby man in court over Olympic bottle throwing incident
3:27pm Thursday 3rd January 2013 in News
A NORTH Yorkshire man who allegedly threw a beer bottle at Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt has appeared in court.
Ashley Gill-Webb, 34, from South Milford, near Selby, was arrested at the Olympic 100 metre final on August 5, after a bottle was thrown towards the starting line-up in the men’s race.
Stratford Magistrates’ Court heard Gill-Webb pushed his way to the front of an exclusive seating area without a ticket, and shouted insults towards Bolt, and threw the beer bottle, which landed close to the runners seconds before the race started.
The Jamaican sprinter went on to win the race in 9.63 seconds, as Gill-Webb was confronted by Dutch Judoka Edith Bosch, and was restrained by volunteers before he was arrested.
Gill-Webb denied using threatening words or behaviour with intent to cause harassment, alarm or distress, as well as 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.
Neil King, prosecuting, told the court Gill-Webb was “unwell at the time”, and had “somehow, without a ticket ever being found on him, made his way into very exclusive seats indeed”.
Video footage played to the court showed Gill-Webb among Dutch athletes and appearing to throw the bottle.
Det Con Guest said after he was arrested Gill-Webb did not make any reference to mental health conditions in a self-assessment form he completed in custody, but the court heard he was sectioned following his first case management hearing in the case.
He has also since lost his job.
Consultant forensic psychiatrist Richard Latham said the video footage suggested the 34-year-old - who has since told psychiatrists he does not remember throwing the bottle - appeared to be aware of the people around him and what he was doing.
Dr Latham, appearing for the prosecution, told the court he agreed with Robert Adams, a consultant psychiatrist instructed by the defence, that Gill-Webb was suffering a manic episode at the time.
But he said he did not necessarily agree that meant the defendant was not capable of deciding to act the way he did.
He said: "Mr Gill-Webb was manic and that meant that he was somewhat impulsive, elated, over-confident, perhaps behaving in a somewhat unpredictable and out-of-character way.
"I think there was some impairment in his ability to make a reasonable decision."
But he added: "I don't think that means he was unable to form an intention.
"He was able to form an intention to do lots of other things, lots of other quite purposeful things, including getting to where he got to, which is a pretty staggering feat given the level of security there was there.
"He got to that position and that demonstrated a pretty impressive mental capacity, I would say."
Detective Constable Kevin Guest told the court Gill-Webb's DNA was later found on the bottle and video clips showed it landing near the start line, as well as Gill-Webb throwing it.
The trial continues.