UK & World News

  • 12 January 2013, 2:05

Olympic 100m Bottle Thrower Found Guilty

A man who threw a beer bottle on to the track before the men's Olympic 100m final has been found guilty of public disorder.

Ashley Gill-Webb, who suffers from bipolar affective disorder, pushed his way to the front of an exclusive seating area at the Olympic Stadium in Stratford and shouted: "Usain, I want you to lose. Usain, you are bad, you are an a******e."

He then threw the plastic beer bottle as the race - which Bolt won in 9.63 seconds - started on August 5 last year.

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

Stratford Magistrates' Court heard that he used an old ticket to get into the Olympic Park and then the stadium. Police never found a ticket on him.

Gill-Webb was suffering from a manic episode at the time, with 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 prosecutors claimed that although he was unwell, he knew what he was doing.

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

She said: "He was shouting specifically at Usain Bolt. Things like 'Usain, I want you to lose'." 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 behind his head, then forwards in a throwing motion, then saw the bottle hit the track, she said.

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.

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.

Finding Gill-Webb guilty of two public order offences, District Judge William Ashworth said: "The video, in my view, clearly shows Mr Gill-Webb checking to see if he is under observation before taking the risk of throwing the bottle.

"I am sure that he was at that point weighing up the chances of being caught."

The case was adjourned until February 4 at Thames Magistrates' Court for a pre-sentence report to be completed. Judge Ashworth said the sentence would be limited to a community-based penalty.

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