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Crossbow killing: Man facing eviction after feud with neighbours waited in their home before shooting, inquest told

Written by on 12 April 2021

A man lay in wait upstairs in his neighbour’s home before killing him with a crossbow after being told he would be evicted from his adjoining property, an inquest has heard.

Anthony Lawrence fired a crossbow bolt at 30-year-old Shane Gilmer which broke his arm and a rib, damaged his liver and kidney and became embedded in his spine, Hull Coroner’s Court was told.

Mr Gilmer’s pregnant partner Laura Sugden was also shot but survived the attack in the East Yorkshire village of Southburn, near Driffield, on 12 January 2018.

The couple had just returned home after a night out and found Lawrence there after he broke in before opening fire, jurors heard.

Shane Gilmer and Laura Sugden Image: Shane Gilmer died in the incident and his partner Laura Sugden was injured

Dr Matthew Lyall, a Home Office forensic pathologist, said it was believed Lawrence had got into the semi-detached home by breaking down the dividing wall in the loft.

He told the inquest the pair thought Lawrence had hidden upstairs, waiting for them to return.

Ms Sugden had noticed a mark on the carpet beneath the loft hatch and “felt something was wrong”, according to senior coroner Professor Paul Marks.

There had previously been “various disputes” between the neighbours about the volume of Lawrence’s music, with one dispute resulting in Lawrence threatening Mr Gilmer with an axe, Prof Marks said.

The senior coroner said Ms Sugden also made a letting agency aware that cannabis fumes from Lawrence’s property were entering her daughter’s bedroom and exacerbating her asthma.

Lawrence was served with an eviction notice following an inspection of his home and, although the true reason was not given, horse manure was dumped on the couple’s garden shortly afterwards, the inquest heard.

After the January 2018 attack, Ms Sugden escaped to a neighbour’s home and called the emergency services, telling them her throat had been cut by a crossbow bolt, the inquest heard.

She and her partner were taken to Hull Royal Infirmary but Mr Gilmer suffered a cardiac arrest and died on arrival at the hospital.

Dr Lyall told the inquest the victim lost his life due to crossbow bolt wounds to his torso and right arm.

Mr Gilmer had a heart abnormality, which may have made him more vulnerable to blood loss, according to the pathologist.

Two days after the attack, Lawrence’s body was found in a vehicle in a rural location in North Yorkshire.

The inquest continues.

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