Killer crossbow like one that threatened Queen bought over counter in just 5 minutes


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Sunday Mirror reporters easily bagged a haul of killer crossbow weapons in one afternoon mere days after an intruder was detained at Windsor Castle – now a widow is calling for a sales crackdown

Reporter Jack Clover picked up a haul of weapons in just one afternoon with no questions asked
Reporter Jack Clover picked up a haul of weapons in just one afternoon with no questions asked

Killer crossbows can be bought over the counter with no questions asked – despite their chilling use in a spate of killings.

Our reporters easily grabbed a haul of the weapons in one afternoon, just days after an intruder armed with one was detained at Windsor Castle.

Now the widow of a crossbow victim wants a sales crackdown in shops and online – saying the Home Secretary’s crossbow laws review is not enough.

Laura Sugden, whose partner Shane Gilmer, 30, was murdered by a neighbour in 2018, said: “Still nothing has changed. Crossbows can do more damage than a shotgun – yet you can buy them on Amazon.

“It shouldn’t take a threat to the Queen for the Government to sit up and take notice.”

Reporter Jack Clover with the Wicked Ridge Blackhawk 360 crossbow he bought from Silver Archery
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©2021 Steve Bainbridge)

Jack found the weapon easy to put together
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©2021 Steve Bainbridge)

Despite their lethal reputation, it’s not illegal to own a crossbow in the UK if you are over 18. They cannot be wielded in public or used for hunting, but no licences are needed for use at archery ranges.

We bought a £400 US Blackhawk 360 at a shop in Battersea, South London, for ‘target practice’. The shopkeeper asked for no proof of identity as he didn’t need to.

The weapon will “put meat on your table”, says one YouTube demo, and can kill a bear about 50 yards away. It came with three arrows and a telescopic sight.

The unboxed killer item
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©2021 Steve Bainbridge)

Later the store, Silver Archery agreed stricter measures were a must. The owner said: “For peace of mind and public safety I’d like some licensing, proof of no criminal record and maybe a GP’s letter saying they are of sound mind.

“One in five people who came in here last year said they wanted a crossbow for self defence, I didn’t sell them one, but it’s scary and it’s been getting worse over the last two years.”

Priti Patel has ordered a review of crossbow laws
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©2021 Steve Bainbridge)

On Amazon we were able to buy two with next-day delivery. The first, a £133 “takedown bow” came with “blazingly fast” carbon hunting arrows.

The second, at £166, had string silencers. Other cheaper models “for hunting” cost just £60.

We bought the Guillotine compound crossbow, a “favourite among serious shooters”. For £280, it came with carbon bolts capable of 370 feet per second.

But one site, Tactical Archery, will only sell to over21s. It states: “We ensure all customers are age verified.”

Jack loaded up with his ‘shopping’
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©2021 Steve Bainbridge)

Priti Patel ordered a review of crossbow laws after Jaswant Chail, 19, of Southampton, was detained under the Mental Health Act.

He scaled Windsor Castle walls last Saturday with a crossbow, after allegedly vowing to kill the Queen in revenge for a massacre carried out by British troops in the 19th century.

Laura, 31, also shot by Anthony Lawrence in Driffield, East Yorks, as Shane lay dying – said tougher restrictions should already have been in place.

At Shane’s inquest the coroner condemned the “completely unregulated” market for the “deadly and vicious weapon”.

Laura Sugden and partner Shane Gilmer who was killed by a crossbow
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Andy Commins / Daily Mirror)

Despite 42,000 signing Laura’s parliamentary petition for stricter laws, the Home Office told her in October there were “no plans to legislate further”.

She said: “It’s ironic that Priti Patel had no desire to change the law less than three months ago.

“It’s only because of what’s happened with the Queen that she’s suddenly announced a review.”

Last year, Saghawat Ramzan got 33 years for killing his brother and another person with a crossbow in the West Midlands where police have seen 53 cases since 2017.

The intrusion made headlines last weekend

Jaswant Chail, 19, of Southampton, was detained under the Mental Health Act

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In 2010, Shaun Griffiths called himself the Crossbow Cannibal in court after killing a victim in Bradford.

West Yorkshire Police have dealt with 53 cases since 2017.

Amazon and Tactical Archery were approached for comment.

The Home Office said: “We are considering options to strengthen controls on crossbows. “These include introducing a registration or licensing scheme, or prohibiting certain types of crossbows.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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