Olympic bottle thrower given eight-week community order and fined £1,500

Monday, 04 February 2013
By Duncan Mackay

Ashley Gill-Webb attending courtFebruary 4 - The man who threw a bottle onto the track at the start of the men's Olympic 100 metres final last year was today given an eight-week community order for public disorder at London's Thames Magistrates' Court.

Ashley Gill-Webb, 34, of South Milford, near Leeds, who suffers from bipolar disorder, was found guilty at Stratford Magistrates' Court last month of intending to cause harassment, alarm or distress by using threatening, abusive or disorderly behaviour during the incident at the Olympic Stadium on August 5.

District Judge William Ashworth told Gill-Webb: "Your intention was to target the highest-profile event at the London Olympic and put off Usain Bolt.

"The potential harm of triggering a false start was significant.

"By good fortune, you failed.

"You did, however, spoil the occasion for some spectators and tarnish the spirit of the Games.

"You suffer from bipolar disorder.

"At the time of the offence, you were in the throes of a manic episode.

"This made you over confident and your behaviour risky.

"I have reduced your punishment to take account of the effects of your illness."

Gill-Webb used an old ticket to get into the Olympic Park and then the Olympic Stadium for the race, where he hurled abuse at athletes and then threw a bottle on to the track as the final began.

It landed behind the lane markers and the world's top sprinters as they exploded out of their blocks in the showpiece race.

Ashley Gill-Webb and start of Olympic 100m August 5 2013A Judge told Ashley Gill-Webb that only "good fortune" prevented him from causing major disruption by throwing a bottle at the start of the 100 metres final at London 2012

Bolt, the world record holder and defending champion, won in 9.63sec, ahead of Jamaican team-mate and 2011 world champion Yohan Blake. with the American Justin Gatlin, the 2004 100m Olympic champion, taking bronze.

Tom Barley, defending Gill-Webb risked inflicting "massive embarrassment on the country" by his behaviour.

He has since lost his job through the bad publicity triggered by the case and has two young children to look after, the court heard.

"He would have looked like a drunken yob on that occasion," said Barley.

Noting that alcohol did not have any influence, Barley suggested that for someone dealing with a mental illness on a day-to-day basis, "it must have been the worst day for it to happen, in the 100m final".

Gill-Webb is being treated for his illness.

He will also be electronically-monitored and be subject to a 7pm to 7am curfew.

He was also ordered to pay £1,500 ($2,360/€1,743) costs.

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January 2013: Olympic 100m bottle thrower found guilty but set to escape jail
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August 2012: Man arrested after bottle thrown on to track moments before start of 100 metres final
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