Aylesbury: Man Jailed For Crossbow Murder

23 October 2013, 13:56 | Updated: 23 October 2013, 16:50

A 42-year-old man has been jailed for life for murdering of a man in Aylesbury with a crossbow.

Russell Gill, of Lavender Walk, Aylesbury, was convicted of one count of murder at Reading Crown Court today (Wednesday 23 June) after an eight day trial.

He was told he will serve a minimum of 24 years.

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

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.

Senior investigating officer Det Supt 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 can help Darrell’s family and friends come to terms with what has happened and offer some closure to them.”

The family of Darrell Farnham released the following statement: “We are satisfied with the verdict of murder, and that justice has been carried out.

“Gill is a cold, dangerous and evil man, who killed Darrell in his own home with calculation and precision, providing no opportunity for self-defence. Gill has shown no remorse or sadness for this terrible act but attempted throughout the trial to justify his actions and destroy the reputation of Darrell and thus causing further distress to Darrell’s family members. Gill left Darrell to die and then proceeded to carry out his day to day life without a second thought for his actions.

“We are devastated in the way Darrell was taken from us at a young age in such a tragic way, and words cannot express the pain and grief we feel.

“His partner, parents, sisters and daughter have to live with this every day and find it hard to come to terms that another human being has taken Darrell’s life. This terrible act not only took Darrell's life but has taken the laughter and joy from our family, and our lives will never be the same again.

“Darrell’s death is so hard for us as a family, knowing the suffering he must have endured in his last moments and we did not get to say goodbye.

“Darrell was a larger than life character always there for his family and friends, and his death has touched everyone he knew.

“Darrell will never be forgotten but we can now start to move forward and rebuild our lives.

“We would like to thank the Thames Valley Police for their continued support and diligence throughout the investigation.”

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. However, 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.”

Gill will be sentenced this afternoon.