December 18 2013 Latest news:
Monday, February 4, 2013
An “over-confident” man with bipolar disorder has been handed a community order after throwing a bottle onto the track at the start of the men’s 100m final at the Olympic Stadium.
Ashley Gill-Webb, 34, of South Milford, near Leeds, who suffers from bipolar disorder, was found guilty at Stratford Magistrates’ Court last month of intending to cause harassment, alarm or distress by using threatening, abusive or disorderly behaviour,.
District Judge William Ashworth, sitting at Thames Magistrates’ Court, told Gill-Webb: “Your intention was to target the highest-profile event at the London Olympic and put off Usain Bolt.
“The potential harm of triggering a false start was significant. By good fortune, you failed.
“You did, however, spoil the occasion for some spectators and tarnish the spirit of the Games.”
You suffer from bipolar disorder. At the time of the offence, you were in the throes of a manic episode. This made you over confident and your behaviour risky.
“I have reduced your punishment to take account of the effects of your illness.”
Gill-Webb used an old ticket to get into the Olympic Park and then the stadium on August 5.
He hurled abuse at athletes, including Jamaican sprint star Bolt, and then threw a bottle on to the track as the final began.
It landed behind the lane markers and the world’s top sprinters as they exploded out of their blocks in the showpiece race.
Bolt, the world record holder and defending champion, won in 9.63 seconds, ahead of Jamaican team-mate and 2011 world champion Yohan Blake. The US’s Justin Gatlin, the 2004 100m Olympic champion, won bronze.
Tom Barley, defending, said Gill-Webb risked inflicting “massive embarrassment on the country” by his behaviour.
He has since lost his job through the bad publicity triggered by the case and has two young children to look after, the court heard.
Mr Barley said: “He would have looked like a drunken yob on that occasion.
“Noting that alcohol did not have any influence, Mr Barley suggested that for someone dealing with a mental illness on a day-to-day basis, “it must have been the worst day for it to happen, in the 100m final”.
Gill-Webb is being treated for his illness.
He will be electronically-monitored and be subject to a 7pm to 7am curfew.
He was also ordered to pay £1,500 costs.