A man has been found guilty of murdering a retired lecturer with a crossbow in Anglesey.
Terrence Whall, 39, denied the charges but was found guilty by a jury at Mold Crown Court on Monday (24 Feb).
His victim, 74 year old Gerald Corrigan, was shot with a crossbow bolt outside his home as he tried to fix his ground-level satellite dish.
The bolt ruptured Corrigan’s stomach in two places, and caused damage to other organs. He died in hospital three weeks later, due to sepsis.
Jurors heard how Whall tampered with Corrigan’s satellite dish while the former lecturer was watching TV late after midnight on 18 April 2019. Prosecutors said Whall then lay in wait with a crossbow at a gap in Mr Corrigan’s dry stone wall, and shot him from a distance as he tried to fix his dish.
Whall’s motive for the crime is still unclear.
No forensic evidence
During the investigation, police struggled to pinpoint a suspect in Corrigan’s murder. Officers said there was no forensic evidence to help them, and no witnesses they could question.
The issue of the investigation was even raised in Parliament, when Theresa May responded to a question by Albert Owen, MP for Ynys Mon, by asking anyone with information to “get in touch with the police”.
A tip off from a member of the public prompted police to investigate Terrence Whall, a 39 year old sports therapist. They discovered that Whall regularly bought and sold crossbows, including an Excalibur 355 - a crossbow used to hunt animals - which had been used in the murder.
But Whall told investigators that he had sold his Excalibur 355 a few weeks prior to Corrigan’s murder, before buying another one after the 74 year old had died.
How the killer was caught
When pressed by officers to provide an alibi for the night of the murder, Whall maintained he was having sex with a man in a field. The man Whall named, Thomas Barry Williams, denied this and said he did not have a sexual relationship with Whall.
But, with no physical evidence linking Whall to Corrigan’s murder, the police’s investigation struggled to make progress.
Then detectives managed to access GPS data from a Land Rover owned by Whall’s partner. The ‘black box’ technology, sent to the manufacturer by the car, revealed that it had been parked near Corrigan’s home on the nights of 17 and 18 April.
Karen Dixon of the Crown Prosecution Service said, "The telematics evidence from the Land Rover was key in showing that Terrence Whall was not only at the location at the time, but that he'd visited the night before, checking the area."
Prosecutors said that without this crucial piece of evidence tying Whall to the scene of the murder, he would have escaped justice.
‘My dad became prey’
Fiona Corrigan, Gerald's daughter, said, "The injuries caused by a crossbow are not designed just to kill... 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."
She said her father was a "good man. Just an average bloke, enjoying his retirement.
"Our lives won't be the same without him,” she added.
Mr Corrigan's partner Marie Bailey said he had "meant the world” to her
"Each day my heart is broken. I feel it breaking again and I can do nothing," she said.
"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."
Detective Chief Inspector Brian Kearney of North Wales Police said Mr Corrigan was "the victim of a barbaric, medieval-style execution in one of the safest parts of the UK".
"Terence Whall believed he had planned and committed the perfect murder," he added.
"There was no forensic evidence, no direct eyewitness evidence to the shooting and in fact no-one saw him going to and from the scene."
While the exact motive was unknown, it was a "planned, premeditated execution from a cold-blooded killer", Kearney said.