UK & World News

  • 4 February 2013, 21:59

Olympic 100m Final Bottle-Thrower Sentenced

A man who threw a plastic beer bottle at athletes in the men's Olympic 100m final has been given an eight-week community order.

Ashley Gill-Webb, who suffers from bipolar disorder, used an old ticket to get into the Olympic Park and then the stadium on August 5 last year, a court heard.

The 34-year-old hurled abuse at competitors, including Jamaican sprint star Usain Bolt, and then threw a bottle on to the track as the race began.

It landed behind the lane markers and the world's top sprinters as they exploded out of their blocks in the showpiece at the London 2012 Games.

Gill-Webb, of South Milford, near Leeds, was found guilty of public disorder at Stratford Magistrates' Court, east London, last month.

District Judge William Ashworth, sitting at Thames Magistrates' Court, told Gill-Webb: "Your intention was to target the highest-profile event at the London Olympics 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."

The judge added: "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, who is being treated for his illness, will be electronically-monitored and be subject to a 7pm to 7am curfew. He was also ordered to pay a 1,500 contribution to costs.

The court heard Gill-Webb pushed his way to the front of an exclusive seating area at the stadium and started shouting: "Usain, I want you to lose." He then threw the bottle.

Dutch judo champion and London 2012 70kg bronze medallist Edith Bosch, who confronted him about the bottle throwing, said the incident made her miss the race. Gill-Webb was escorted from the stadium and arrested.

The defendant, 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 what happened.

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.

Bolt, the world record-holder and defending champion, won the 100m in 9.63 seconds, ahead of Jamaican team-mate and 2011 world champion Yohan Blake. American Justin Gatlin, the 2004 100m Olympic champion, won bronze.

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