Athletics

Brit on trial for abusing Bolt

2013-01-03 20:07
Usain Bolt (AP)

London - A man screamed abuse at Usain Bolt before throwing a plastic beer bottle onto the track shortly before the men's 100m final at the London Olympics, prosecutors said at his trial on Thursday.

The accused, Ashley Gill-Webb, 34, pushed his way to the front of an exclusive seating area without a ticket and shouted things like: "Usain you are bad, you are an arsehole," the court was told.

As the sprinters went up into the 'set' position on their starting blocks for the race on August 5, Gill-Webb threw the green Heineken bottle onto the track behind the athletes, prosecutors said.

Bolt went on to win the race in 9.63sec to retain his 100m title.

Gill-Webb, from South Milford, near Leeds in northern England, was confronted by Dutch judoka Edith Bosch, and then restrained by Olympic volunteers and arrested by police at the Olympic Stadium in east London, the court was told.

After the beer bottle was thrown, Bosch said she had confronted him saying "Dude, are you crazy?".

The judoka, who won a bronze medal at the Games, said in a statement read out in court that she had been "flabbergasted" because what Gill-Webb had done was "so disrespectful".

Gill-Webb has denied two charges of using threatening words or behaviour with intent to cause harassment.

Questioned by police, Gill-Webb maintained he had nothing to do with throwing the bottle but admitted he had been "quite hyper" at the time.

Opening the case at Stratford Magistrates' Court in east London, prosecutor Neil King said: "In the stadium, along with the many thousands who should have been there legitimately and were watching the race in hushed anticipation, was also Mr Gill-Webb who it is now accepted was unwell at the time.

"His conduct at the time however, the Crown (Prosecution Service) say, was one that was causing harassment, alarm and distress to those around him and his conduct was one that he intended to cause harassment, alarm and distress.

"He had somehow, without a ticket ever being found on him, made his way into very exclusive seats indeed.

"He was mingling with members of the Dutch Olympic team. Indeed he would be within striking distance of a bronze medallist Ms Edith Bosch.

"Whilst there he hurled abuse towards the athletes in the final, particularly towards the eventual winner Usain Bolt."

He said Gill-Webb "threw a green Heineken bottle in a lobbing motion that was captured on CCTV.

"This bottle landed extremely close to the athletes and it's probably luck rather than Mr Gill-Webb's judgment that it did not do anything far more serious."

Read more on:    usain bolt  |  athletics
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