Face of man who shot friend ‘in the balls’ with a crossbow after three-day bender
In a dispute over a drug debt, James Gillen ordered his mate Aodhan McLarnon to lie down on the ground but when he refused, he shot him
A man who finished a three day drink and drug binge by shooting his mate in the leg with a crossbow was handed a seven and a half year sentence on Wednesday.
Newry Crown Court heard that in dispute over a £200-300 drug debt, 49-year-old James Gillen ordered his mate Aodhan McLarnon to lie down on the ground but when he refused, he shot him in the right upper thigh with a crossbow bolt.
In a strange twist to the confused tale, it was Gillen who phoned the police at 4am on December 29th 2020 to tell them he’d shot Mr McLarnon in the groin, erroneously claiming he’d done it because his victim had come to his home to “do him harm” and that he’d been informed McLarnon had been paid £1,000 to do so.
When police arrived at the scene, they found the heavily bleeding victim in a street nearby and although he told cops he jury his leg climbing over a fence, he admitted the truth and was taken to hospital where doctors stitches his leg back together, sealing the 11 cm wound with 16 stitches.
Gillen, from Lagmore Avenue, Belfast was arrested and confessed: “I shot him in the balls, no problem, he wouldn’t get on the ground so I could kneecap him. There you go, I’ve claimed it…try to f**king do my family in, f**king 2p gangster.”
When officers arrested him, they discovered an axe and a machete in a bag behind the door and also that in his pocket, he had a small silver knuckle duster.
It was that axe, the court heard, that Gillen used to smashed every window in his victim’s Skoda car and to gouge the panels and paint work.
Judge Peter Irvine KC said while Gillen “has a considerable record for violence…the prosecution do not make the case that this was a punishment attack, nor that it was carried out in behalf of a paramilitary organisation.”
Instead, it seemed that Gillen had lent his victim £200-300 for a drink and drug binge over Christmas and when he couldn’t pay, the victim offered to give him his crossbow in part payment before he was shot with Gillen’s weapon.
During police interviews Gillen accepted “there was no threat made to him by Mr McLarnon of any kind, there was no physical threat to him and no verbal threat to him, there was no discussion, there was no fight.”
He later entered guilty pleas to wounding with intent to cause GBH, criminal damage to the victims Skoda car and possessing the knuckle duster.
Jailing Gillen, Judge Irvine said while he was due credit for admitting his guilt, the offences were aggravated because of his considerable record, the premeditated nature of the attack and that he had “brought a crossbow on to the street with the direct intention” of wounding Mr McLarnon.
Imposing seven years for the attack and an extra six months for the knuckle duster, the judge ordered the sentences to be served half in jail and half on licence.
Speaking after the sentence, Detective Sergeant Kitchen said: “Gillen inflicted serious wounds on his victim after shooting him with a crossbow bolt in December 2020, following an altercation in the Lagmore area of Belfast.
"This was a vicious assault which resulted in a man suffering a serious injury and I hope this sentencing sends out a clear message to anyone who thinks they can use violence and get away with it.
"Police will continue to work tirelessly to bring offenders before the courts so that victims receive the justice they deserve.”
James Gillen’s sentencing took place just 24 hours after his younger brother Gavin Anthony Gillen was jailed at Newry Crown Court for 10 months, for sexual communication with a child.
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