Dad killed by crossbow bolt fired by rowing neighbour in front of pregnant partner

A father-of-three died after a crossbow bolt fired at him by his neighbour became lodged in his spine, an inquest heard.

Shane Gilmer, 30, was shot dead by Anthony Lawrence, 55, who had broken into his house and hid in his loft while he was out with his pregnant partner Laura Sugden.

Hull Coroner’s Court heard a crossbow bolt was shot through Shane’s right arm and became lodged into his abdomen.

His partner Laura needed life-saving surgery after telling 999 operators her throat had been cut by the crossbow.

Thankfully she and the couple’s unborn baby survived the sickening attack which happened on Friday, January 12, 2018.

However, Shane tragically died of his injuries despite the “heroic efforts” of medics after being rushed to Hull Royal Infirmary.

Hull Coroner’s Court was read a transcript in which Shane told the operator: “It’s right in, it’s about 10 inches into my body. It ripped through my arm as well.”

The inquest heard the ambulance arrived at the hospital at around 11.28pm and Shane was pronounced dead just after midnight.

Promoted Stories
The murder sparked a two-day manhunt which saw the sleepy village of Southburn, East Yorks., put on “lockdown” by police.

Lawrence’s body was found on the North York Moors on Sunday, January 14.

Shane and Laura, who had been together for two years, had been out on the night of the attack, the inquest heard.

Lawrence broke into the couple’s home through the dividing wall between their lofts and lay in wait until they returned.

The inquest heard there had been “various disputes” between Shane and Lawrence, who had previously threatened Shane after he asked him to turn his music down.

The couple had also smelled cannabis and had reported Lawrence as the substance was affecting Laura’s daughter’s asthma, the inquest heard.

Lawrence told the couple he blamed them for him being evicted from his house and a pile of horse manure was dumped in their garden after he was served an eviction notice.

The inquest heard that, when the couple returned from their date, Laura went upstairs to put the electric blanket on.

She noticed a stain on the cream carpet just below the loft hatch and was then shocked to find Lawrence in her house with a loaded crossbow.

The court heard Lawrence shot Shane in the abdomen and the crossbow bolt was still stuck in his body during his post-mortem and damaged when it was removed.

Home Office pathologist Dr Matthew Lyall told the court the bolt had cut through a rib and completely divided Shane’s right kidney.

Dr Lyall said he found Shane had died of crossbow injuries to his torso and his right arm.

He said he thought the bolt may have gone through Shane’s arm on its way into his torso, where it was “quite firmly embedded in the spinal column”.

The court heard that Laura, who was heavily pregnant, managed to fight Lawrence off and flee to a neighbour’s house where she frantically dialled 999.

The court heard Laura told the operator she had her throat cut by a crossbow bolt and emergency services rushed to the scene.

Coroner Paul Marks said he was considering writing a regulation 28 report to raise questions about the unregulated sales of the “deadly and vicious” weapon.

Shane’s heartbroken mum Patricia said in a statement read out to the court that her oldest son was a “fantastic, hands-on dad” who was well-loved by everyone.

She said Shane, a housing officer for East Riding Council, had enjoyed helping people from a young age and loved his job as he was able to help vulnerable people.

Mrs Gilmer added: “Shane was always friendly and helpful. Everyone loved him and he had lots of friends.

“Shane loved his job and he enjoyed helping to find people accommodation. Shane enjoyed helping the homeless and vulnerable people.

“Shane’s life was horrendously cut short and our lives will never be the same again.

“We have been totally overwhelmed by how many people have been in touch with us.

“A district nurse got in touch to say Shane always went above and beyond.

“He was a talented officer who was kind caring and helpful with everyone.

“His manager said he saw great potential and saw him achieving great things but now he will not have this opportunity.

“He was always full of fun and was a bit mischievous as well.

“Hundreds of people came to Shane’s funeral and everyone applauded when he left the church.

“We’ve lost so much as a family, a fantastic, caring, loving son, brother and dad.

“His little girls cry themselves to sleep at night because they miss him so much.”

The inquest, heard before a jury and expected to last five days, continues.