Man jailed for 10 years after crossbow attack in Grimsby park which could have killed victim.

Locked up: Rod Woolliss admitted attempted murder. Inset: The crossbow used to shoot Gedmanis Rolanda.

Locked up: Rod Woolliss admitted attempted murder. Inset: The crossbow used to shoot Gedmanis Rolanda.

'Disgraceful conduct': Adrian Francis.

‘Disgraceful conduct’: Adrian Francis.

Twice jailed before: Ashley Meadows.

Twice jailed before: Ashley Meadows.

THIS was the weapon used to fire a bolt into an unconscious man’s face during drink-fuelled “mob violence”.

If the tip of the arrow had landed just a bit further across the helpless victim’s body, it could have been fatal, a court heard.

The man who fired the crossbow, Rod Woolliss, 22, was jailed for ten years yesterday after admitting attempted murder and other charges.

Community leaders have moved to reassure the public following the “one-off incident”.

It followed a confrontation between a group of Lithuanian people and a gang of local people in the area of Corporation Road and the nearby Duke of York Gardens, Grimsby, on July 7. About 40 people were in the park area at one stage. Emotions were running high and people on both sides had weapons.

Today, community leaders reassured residents.

Councillor Darren Billard, who represents the West Marsh, said: “There is a strong sense of community on the West Marsh.

“There are incidents of low-level offending, such as antisocial behaviour, at the park but nothing of this magnitude.”

“There has never been an incident of violence of this kind while I have been councillor and I hope there never will be again.

Keith Watkin, vice-chairman of Friends Of The Freshney, added: “The park is the centre of community life on the West Marsh and always has been.

“This one-off incident is not a reflection of what the park is like.

“We all hope this incident doesn’t taint its reputation because it is the place where people from all walks of life go.”

Woolliss, of Millom Way, Grimsby, also admitted attempting to cause grievous bodily harm with intent and violent disorder.

Adrian Francis, 25, of Corporation Road, Grimsby, was jailed for six years and two months after admitting attempting to cause grievous bodily harm with intent and violent disorder.

Ashley Meadows, 27, of Haven Avenue, Grimsby, was locked up for three-and-a-half years after admitting violent disorder.

Richard Woolfall, prosecuting, told Hull Crown Court that the Lithuanian victim, Rolandas Gedminas, 27, a leaflet distributor, had been repeatedly kicked to the head and stamped on by Woolliss and Francis. Woolliss then fired the crossbow bolt.

“Woolliss took a crossbow and shot him to the side of the head,” said Mr Woolfall. “He was extremely lucky to have survived that.”

A neurosurgeon had revealed that, if the tip of the bolt had been only a few millimetres deeper or higher, it would have been fatal.

The incident followed a confrontation between a group of Lithuanians and a gang of locals in the area of Corporation Road and Duke Of York Gardens, Grimsby, on July 7.

About 40 people were in the park area at one stage. Emotions were running high and people on both sides had weapons.

“It was mob violence,” said Mr Woolfall.

Mr Gedminas and a woman were assaulted and he was very quickly knocked to the ground.

People were mocking Mr Gedminas as he lay on the ground. A girl poured beer on his face and a male assaulted him. Woolliss repeatedly kicked him and stamped on his head. He later fired the crossbow at close range, causing a “thud” sound.

Afterwards, Woolliss was “laughing and acting hysterically”.

The bolt had embedded in a salivary gland and it was surgically removed.

He suffered nerve damage and later had problems eating and drinking.

Members of the crossbow victim’s group were “tooled up” with weapons and may have “provoked” the violence, the court heard.

Richard Butters, mitigating for Woolliss, said: “The complainant group were tooled up. They had metal bars of three to three-and-a-half-foot length.

“The foreign group provoked the situation and it could be said that they, in fact, started it.”

Woolliss had no previous convictions for assault and the violence he used was out of character, said Mr Butters.

Craig Lowe, representing Francis, said his client was sorry for what he had done.

“He has brought shame and embarrassment to his family, who no longer talk to him,” he said.

Richard Hackfath, representing Meadows, said the “foreign group” had weapons and, as a result, Meadows and his group armed themselves.

Meadows had twice been jailed for periods of four years, once for aggravated burglary in 2005 and again in 2010 for two burglary offences which were part of the infamous Shiny Car Wash case.

The sentence on Francis included a consecutive two months for breaching a 16-week suspended prison sentence for a public offence and two of assault.

The court heard that the whereabouts of Mr Gedminas and his present condition were now not known to the prosecution.

A 17-year-old youth, who cannot be named because of a court order, admitted violent disorder. He was given an eight-month detention and training order.

The court heard that he was armed with a chain but did not necessarily use it. He was, however, part of a group that was involved in violence.

Andrew Bailey, mitigating, said that the youth had an “awful” record but did not actually use any violence. He was working as a builder’s mate, living away from Grimsby and was keeping away from bad influences.

Grimsby Telegraph

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