Briton on trial for hurling abuse and bottle at Usain Bolt

Thu Jan 3, 2013 10:10am EST
 
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(Please note graphic language in second paragraph.)

LONDON (Reuters) - A British man went on trial on Thursday accused of screaming abuse at Usain Bolt and hurling a beer bottle onto the track as the Olympic men's 100 meters final was starting, a climactic moment of the London Games in August.

The court heard that the packed 80,000-seat Olympic Stadium had fallen silent in anticipation of the race when Ashley Gill-Webb, 34, began shouting insults like "Usain I want you to lose, Usain you are bad, you are an arsehole".

The Jamaican sprinter did not hear the abuse or see a green Heineken bottle land behind the starting line, and went on to win the race in 9.63 seconds, the second-fastest time recorded.

Gill-Webb did not have a ticket to attend the 100 meters final but had somehow pushed his way to the front of an exclusive seating area, among members of the Dutch Olympic team.

After his outburst, Gill-Webb was confronted by Dutch judoka Edith Bosch, an Olympic bronze medalist, then restrained by volunteer workers and arrested.

He has pleaded not guilty to a public order offence, the Press Association (PA) reported from Stratford Magistrates' Court in east London, without saying what penalties he might face.

"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," said prosecutor Neil King.

"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," said King, quoted by the PA.   Continued...

 
Usain Bolt of Jamaica looks on ahead of the IAAF Diamond League athletics meeting, also known as Memorial Van Damme in Brussels September 7, 2012. REUTERS/Laurent Dubrule