Man convicted and sentenced for crossbow murder - Aylesbury

23/10/2013

A man was today, Wednesday, 23 October 2013, convicted at Reading Crown Court of the murder of a man in Aylesbury and was sentenced to life imprisonment and to serve a minimum of 24 years.

Russell Gill, aged 42, of Lavender Walk, Aylesbury, was found guilty of one count of murder after an eight day trial.

On 23 June, Gill went to the house of 44-year-old Darrell Farnham in Belgrave Road, Aylesbury.

During the trial, the jury heard how the two argued, before Mr Farnham was shot at point-blank range through the heart with a crossbow bolt.

After killing the victim, Gill left the crossbow and a sword at a house nearby and returned home. He was arrested on 27 June.

During his interviews, Gill told police he had only intended to scare Mr Farnham. He said the victim's dog had attacked him during their altercation and the crossbow had gone off by mistake.

Gill pleaded guilty to manslaughter, but the jury did not agree with his version of events.

Ruth Bowskill, Temporary Chief Crown Prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said: "This case involved the tragic murder of 44-year-old Darrell Farnham.

"Gill went to the home of Mr Farnham armed with a loaded crossbow and a samurai sword with the intention of killing him and, after arguing with him, deliberately shot him, at point blank range, through the heart with the crossbow. This was a clinical execution carried out with a Medieval-style lethal weapon. Gill is undoubtedly an extremely dangerous man.

"Russell Gill admitted shooting Mr Farnham with the crossbow causing the fatal injury, but said that the firing of the crossbow and resultant death of Mr Farnham was a dreadful accident. Gill had offered a guilty plea to manslaughter, but this was not accepted and the trial for murder proceeded.  The jury found Gill guilty of murder despite his denials.

"This case represents a tragedy for the family of Mr Farnham. The victim was brutally murdered in his own home after a petty argument. His family and friends have been devastated by his untimely death.

"I would like to pay tribute to Mr Farnham's family for their wholehearted support of this investigation and the dignity they have displayed while hearing the horrific details of how Mr Farnham was killed.

"We have worked closely with Thames Valley Police since this investigation was launched and as a result of the hard work and diligence of the prosecution team, a just outcome has been achieved. We know that nothing will bring Mr Farnham back to his family, but we hope that today's conviction and sentence brings them at least a small sense that justice has been done. Our thoughts are very much with them at this time."

Senior investigating officer Detective Superintendent Chris Ward said: "This was a pre-planned brutal murder using the most lethal of weapons imaginable.

"The victim, Darrell Farnham, had no way of defending himself against this attack and the jury have made their conviction on overwhelming evidence.

"I hope that this conviction and sentence can help Darrell's family and friends come to terms with what has happened and offer some closure to them."