HomeLifestyleCrossbow killer jailed for life after ‘medieval-style execution’ of pensioner
Crossbow killer jailed for life after ‘medieval-style execution’ of pensioner
A martial arts expert has been jailed for fatally shooting a pensioner with a crossbow in a 'medieval-style execution' on a Welsh island.
Terence Whall, 39, who was previously found guilty of murdering Gerald Corrigan, was sentenced to life in prison for a minimum of 31 years today.
The 74-year-old was shot as he adjusted a satellite dish outside his remote farmhouse in Anglesey, Wales, in the early hours of Good Friday, April 19, last year.
Whall and co-defendant Gavin Jones, 36, were convicted of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice for plotting to set fire to Whall's Land Rover Discovery.
During the trial, jurors were told they may never know why Mr Corrigan was murdered but heard that the pensioner and his partner, Marie Bailey, 64, had previously handed over £250,000 to convicted fraudster Richard Wyn Lewis.
Sentencing today, Justice Nerys Jefford told Whall: "Your arrogant belief that you could get away with murder was misplaced."
Whall showed no reaction as he was sentenced by judge Mrs Justice Jefford at Mold Crown Court.
Today, Ms Bailey described the horrific aftermath of the shooting.
According to the Daily Post, she said: "Gerry didn’t have chance, his back was turned and he had no chance to defend himself.
"I am now left with the image of his life blood spilling out into the hall.
"Now he is gone I feel I have a lesser life I have an ache and emptiness that will not stop.
"It is a terrible inferno inside me every day, thinking of how Gerry was murdered and how he suffered."
A doctor said Mr Corrigan's body 'disintegrated inside', the court heard today.
Ms Bailey also spoke about the heartbreaking ordeal of watching her partner die in hospital over the course of three weeks.
Ms Bailey added: "His body was broken, damaged beyond repair and I had to watch him slowly die."
She said Mr Corrigan was an 'exceptional man' who she loved.
The retired lecturer's son, Neil Corrigan, voiced his disbelief at the cruelty of the murder today.
He said: "How could someone choose to use such a barbaric weapon on and old man? Did they really want to cause him a slow painful death?
"I hope one day I can remember the good times and stop being traumatised by bad memories."
Neil said he watched his father for weeks in hospital as he 'writhed in pain and discomfort', before the family made the agonising decision to switch off his life support.
Anna Pope, prosecuting, said Whall, who was heavily in debt, had given no motive for the killing and there was no evidence of a connection between him and Mr Corrigan,.
She argued the court could conclude that the shooting was a "murder for gain", but David Elias QC, representing Whall, said it could not be sure to the criminal standard.
The judge said it was "speculation" to say Whall was paid to carry out the murder or that it happened because Mr Corrigan was about to report fraud by Mr Lewis to the police.
On May 31, Whall and Jones were arrested at the Anglesey home of Mr Lewis, who remains under investigation, following an incident which the jury heard was a dispute over money.
Peter Rouch QC, prosecuting, previously said Whall's association with Mr Lewis "may be of significance" but David Elias QC, defending Whall, said there was no evidence linking the two before the shooting.
Whall, a twice-married tai chi instructor from east London, denied ever meeting Mr Corrigan, who died in hospital on May 11.
But the court heard that he hid behind a wall at father-of-two's remote home and waited for him to leave his property after tampering with his Sky dish.
The crossbow bolt passed through the pensioner's body, causing serious internal injuries and bruising his heart before shattering a bone in his arm as it left his body.
Whall's movements on the night of the shooting were revealed by the GPS system from his state-of-the-art car, which was found burnt out in a disused quarry on June 3.
Information recovered from Jaguar Land Rover showed the car had been in the area of Mr Corrigan's home, near South Stack, at the time of the shooting and on the previous night, when the prosecution allege Whall was "scoping out" the property.
Whall initially told police he was at home on the night Mr Corrigan was shot but, when the GPS showed he was not, he said he was in the area because he was having a sexual encounter with friend Barry Williams.
Mr Williams denied the claims.
Partway through the trial, which lasted more than four weeks, Jones's brother, Darren Jones, 41, and his friend, Martin Roberts, 34, pleaded guilty to the arson of the Land Rover Discovery.
Whall admitted owning a crossbow but told police he had sold it months before the killing and a new one he ordered online was not delivered until after the shooting.
The jury was told he had ordered crossbow bolts and broadheads identical to the one used to shoot Mr Corrigan in the months leading up to the shooting.
A punchbag, with holes in which suggested it had been used for target practice, was seized from the home Whall shared with partner Emma Roberts in Bryngwran, Anglesey.
Mr Corrigan was effectively a carer for Ms Bailey, who had MS, and moved to Anglesey more than 20 years ago after retiring from his job as a lecturer in photography and video in Lancashire.
Ms Mailey urge Whall to reveal why he had shot her partner.
She previously said: "Gerry was my partner in life, my best friend he meant the world to me. Every day I am faced with the reality of no Gerry Corrigan in my life any more.
"Each day my heart is broken, I feel it breaking again and I can do nothing. For Gerry's family and friends I am sorry we have lost him, our lives poorer and somehow empty without him.
"To that sad, twisted broken soul who murdered him, I say if you have an ounce of humanity, any sense of decency then you would tell us now why you have done this."
She urged anyone who might know why Whall had carried out the murder to come forward.
She added: "To you, I will say this, I am sorry for you and you have been given what you deserve."
Gerald Corrigan's daughter Fiona previously said: "Nothing can prepare you for a 7 a.m. phone call on a Bank Holiday weekend to tell you your Dad has been shot. You need to get to the hospital before it's too late.
"I had to drive from one hospital to another. It's not easy to drive when all you want to do is scream.
"The injuries caused by a crossbow are not designed just to ill , they are designed to mutilate.
"The particular weapon is designed to bring down big game and that is what my Dad became – prey. We may never know why.
"The reason why the news was such a shock to us was that he was such a good man. Just an average bloke enjoying his retirement. He enjoyed a lie in, a nice cup of tea and reading books.
"He loved Laurel and Hardy films and photographing flowers and mountains. Our lives won't be the same without him."
The two men showed no reaction as the verdicts were returned.
Speaking after the verdict, North Wales Police Detective Chief Inspector Brian Kearney described the murder as a 'barbaric medieval-style execution'.
Whall was also sentenced to six years for conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, which will run concurrently with his life sentence.
Gavin Jones was jailed for five years for conspiracy to pervert the course of justice in the burning of the Land Rover.
Darren Jones has been handed a 34-month prison term for arson of the 4×4.
Martin Roberts was sentenced to 28 months in jail.