Shane Gilmer’s partner on ‘bittersweet’ decision to revise crossbows after assassination attempt on queen

Partner for the victim of crossbow shooting Shane Gilmer says the Home Secretary’s announcement to investigate the legislation surrounding the weapon is ‘bittersweet’.

Shane was killed by his neighbor Anthony Lawrence at his home in Southburn, near Driffield, with a crossbow, after returning home from a date night with his pregnant partner, Laura Sugden.

Laura launched a campaign eight months ago calling for strict controls on the sale and use of crossbows, which was rejected by Priti Patel.

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But after uninvited guest Jaswant Singh Chail, 19, was caught on the grounds of Windsor Castle with a crossbow Christmas Day, the Home Secretary has ordered a review of the crossbow laws.

Although Laura has welcomed the review, she says she is frustrated that it has required a threat to the royal family before the review took place.

She told Hull Live: “My first thought when I heard what happened at Windsor Castle is that something almost happened again.

“I know on my own how scary it is to be greeted by someone wearing a crossbow in your own home.

“I launched my campaign for tighter cross-breast control in April after the investigation into Shane’s death, as there is no control in place at all.

“It’s been disappointing to hear that a review is only taking place now after what happened at Windsor Castle.

“My thoughts go to the Queen, as it is truly the most horrible experience to be attacked in your own home, so even the thought of it almost happening is frightening, especially when that person carries such a barbaric, deadly weapon.

“But it seems that Shane’s death was not enough to persuade the Home Secretary to make a review, and that makes this news bittersweet.

“It seems that the lives of Shanes and other victims are not as important as those of the royal family.

“We have been asking for a review for eight months and to highlight the fact that people have been killed with this weapon.

“I am excited that a review is finally taking place, but it is a shame that it has required something like this to persuade the Home Secretary.”

But Laura is not done with her campaign and she wants to make sure the Home Secretary is aware of the extent of the problems surrounding crossbows.

“After submitting our concerns, we received a response from the Home Secretary saying that there was no need for tighter restrictions because such incidents are so rare,” Laura said.

This prompted Laura and her legal team to submit requests for freedom of information to all police forces in the UK, asking them to provide details of injuries and deaths involving crossbows.

“We are still processing all the data we have received,” Laura said. “It is fair to say that incidents involving crossbows are not uncommon.

“Our next step will be to hand over all this information to Priti Patel so she can see that these incidents are not uncommon and more needs to be done. We want to make sure that after a review she does not come back and say, that is the case again. “

Watch: Laura Sugden speaks after the investigation into the death of her partner Shane Gilmer

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The investigation into Shane’s death, which took place in April 2020, heard how Lawrence had sneaked into their home that night and shot Shane just before he turned on Laura, leaving her seriously injured.

Humberside Police searched the village of Southburn and searched the surrounding fields. On the third day of the hunt, Lawrence’s body was discovered in a remote area of ​​North Yorkshire inside a motorhome.

The family said Lawrence had sought revenge on the couple when he was evicted because they told his landlord that he smoked cannabis and there were also complaints that Lawrence had repeatedly played loud music.

Following the investigation, which concluded that Shane’s death was illegal, Laura announced that she was launching the campaign, which called for stricter laws on the sale and possession of crossbows.

Senior forensic professor Professor Paul Marks also called for tighter controls on the sale and use of crossbows.

A petition was launched by Laura and her legal team Ison Harrison Solicitors, which attracted more than 40,000 signatures.

Despite the calls, however, Patel dismissed the calls, saying statutory checks were enough.

The incident at Windsor Castle on Christmas Day has now prompted a reversal by the Home Secretary.

The Crossbows Act 1987 controls the possession of crossbows by persons under the age of 18 throughout the United Kingdom.

However, once sold, there are no ongoing control, registration or licensing requirements for these weapons, unlike those in place for firearms and shotguns.

The attack killed Shane Gilmer and wounded his partner Laura Sugden
The attack killed Shane Gilmer and wounded his partner Laura Sugden

Laura’s lawyer Gemma Vine of Ison Harrison said: “The laws governing the use of crossbows in the UK are sadly inadequate.

“In recent years, there have been several high-profile murders, but crossbows are still readily available to buy for as little as £ 100. They are powerful and life-threatening weapons that should require the same controls and licenses as gun owners.

“The Crossbows Act 1987 simply makes it an offense for crossbowmen to be bought by or sold to persons under the age of 18. In contrast, the Firearms Act 1968 requires those wishing to possess a firearm or ammunition to be assessed by the police, and also restricts ownership in certain circumstances.

“These controls mean that members of the public are protected from potential abuse. Yet we do not know how many crossbows are in circulation in the UK or under what circumstances they are being held.

“The incident at Windsor Castle involved a crossbow and the alleged threat from the intruder to assassinate the queen must certainly prompt a change in the crossbow laws to ensure there are no more horrific attacks and deaths.”

A government source told The Telegraph that a review was taking place.

They said: “A review of crossbow ownership and regulation is underway and ministers will be presented with opportunities in the new year.

“It was introduced by the Home Secretary earlier this year and will incorporate all the lessons that can be learned from the recent incident.”

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