Lodger tells of horror at death of ‘friend’ shot with crossbow

Darrell Farnham
Darrell Farnham

A lodger told a jury today how his Aylesbury landlord collapsed on him and bled to death after a crossbow bolt was shot into his chest from point blank range.

Jonathan Briggs spoke of his horror when Darrell Farnham was hit by a metal arrow fired by Russell Gill during a ‘heated argument’.

Mr Briggs said Mr Farnham, 44, managed to close the door to their Belgrave Road home before slumping over with a ‘large red patch’ on his chest.

Mr Gill, 42, denies murder, saying he fired the crossbow by mistake after he took it to threaten Mr Farnham over a £6,000 drug debt he owed the victim.

Mr Briggs told Reading Crown Court his ‘landlord and friend’ Mr Farnham had been in an upbeat mood after winning his first ever stock car race earlier that day.

The pair were watching television and recalling the day’s events when Mr Gill, of Lavender Walk, knocked at a side door to their home at 10.30pm on June 23.

Giving evidence at the trial from behind a screen, Mr Briggs said Mr Farnham answered the door and a row broke out.

He told the jury: “There was a considerable amount of swearing and raised voices.

“I heard another man’s voice but I couldn’t tell who it was. It was heated from the start.

“I got up from the sofa and went in to the kitchen to see what was going on.

“I heard something banging like a door trying to close. It was almost like a popping, banging noise.”

Mr Briggs told how he then saw Mr Farnham desperately trying to close the door.

He said: “His hands were both on the back door, one around the handle area and one around shoulder height trying to get the door closed.

“I could hear someone kicking and shouting at the door trying to force the door open. There were repeated kicks.

“I pushed the door shut and locked the door with my keys which were already in the door lock.

“Someone was still trying to kick the door in even after we got it locked.”

Mr Briggs described how his landlord then ‘stood back and collapsed on me’.

“There was a large patch of red on his chest,” Mr Briggs said.

“I dragged myself out from underneath him. I tried to stop the blood and called an ambulance on my mobile.”

His phone cut out half way through the call, so Mr Briggs ran to a neighbour’s house to raise the alarm.

He said: “I shouted to them to call an ambulance, saying Darrell had been hurt, and got back to the house.

“I tried CPR. I don’t know how long that was for, but then the police arrived.”

Police and paramedics were powerless to save Mr Farnham after the crossbow bolt penetrated his heart.

Mr Gill has pleaded guilty to manslaughter, but denies murder.

The trial continues.