Guilty verdict on Olympics bottle thrower

Ashley Gill-Webb, 34, arriving at Stratford Magistrates court.

Ashley Gill-Webb, 34, arriving at Stratford Magistrates court.

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A man who got into the Olympic Stadium without a ticket then threw a beer bottle at competitors lining up for the men’s 100m final has been found guilty of public disorder.

Ashley Gill-Webb, 34, was suffering a “manic episode” when he used an old ticket to get into the Olympic Park and then the stadium, where he hurled abuse at Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt then threw a plastic beer bottle on to the track on August 5.

Gill-Webb, from South Milford, near Leeds, was found guilty at Stratford Magistrates’ Court, east London, of intending to cause 100m finalists harassment, alarm or distress by using threatening, abusive or disorderly behaviour, contrary to Section 4 of the Public Order Act as well as an alternative charge contrary to Section 5 of the act.

Gill-Webb, who suffers from bipolar affective disorder, pushed his way to the front of an exclusive seating area at the stadium and started shouting: “Usain, I want you to lose. Usain, you are bad, you are an arsehole,” the court heard last week.

He then threw the bottle as the race – which Bolt won – started.

The 34-year-old was confronted by Dutch judo champion Edith Bosch, then escorted from the stadium and arrested.

The court heard that police never found a ticket on Gill-Webb. He had had an urge to be “involved” in the Olympics, the court heard.

His lawyers argued that his mental state meant he could not have intended to cause harassment, alarm or distress, but the Crown said that, although he was unwell, he knew what he was doing.

The court heard that Gill-Webb pushed his way to the front of the exclusive seating area.

Prosecutor Neil King described him mingling with members of the Dutch Olympic team, but his “shouting and jostling”, then throwing the bottle, led to a confrontation with judoka Ms Bosch.

In a statement, she described how he pushed past her to get to the front of the seating.

“He was shouting specifically at Usain Bolt. Things like ‘Usain, I want you to lose. Usain, you are bad, you are an arsehole’,” she said. “He repeated these taunts over and over – it went on and on for about two minutes.”

She saw Gill-Webb move his arm forwards in a throwing motion, then saw the bottle hit the track. Ms Bosch confronted him, saying “Dude, are you crazy?”

“He was trying to walk away so I pushed him hard to stop him,” she said. “I was angry with what he had done, which was so disrespectful.”

Other witnesses saw Gill-Webb shouting at finalists including Bolt, fellow Jamaican Yohan Blake, and US sprinter Justin Gatlin. Student Farzin Mirshahi heard him yell: “Believe in Blake, no Usain” while her brother, Kiya Mirshahi, heard: “Usain, no, Justin, you are a druggie, believe in Blake, no Usain, no.”

After the incident, Gill-Webb – who the court heard has since lost his job – was escorted from the stadium and then arrested.

His behaviour in police custody was said to be “somewhat unusual”, and he told officers that he was Scottish actor Alan Cumming, signing a statement with the star’s name.

Gill-Webb, who did not give evidence during his trial, originally denied throwing the bottle, but his DNA was later found on it. He later said he could not remember the incident.

Prosecutor Neil King said video showed Gill-Webb looking left and right, then surreptitiously throwing the bottle, suggesting he knew what he was doing was wrong, and clearly had intent.

Rhiannon Crimmins, defending, said Gill-Webb was mentally ill at the time and the video just showed a man behaving “oddly”.

Gill-Webb’s wife, who was in the public gallery, wept as he was convicted of both charges. The court heard he has two previous convictions of criminal damage.

The case was adjourned until February 4 for a pre-sentence report. Gill-Webb was granted conditional bail until his sentencing.

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