A sports therapist has been found guilty of the ”cold-blooded” murder of a retired lecturer near Holyhead.
Gerald Corrigan was shot in the chest with a crossbow as he was fixing a satellite dish outside his home on Good Friday last year. The 74 year-old, originally from Lancashire, died in hospital three weeks later.
Terence Whall (39) of Bryngwran denied killing Mr Corrigan but he was convicted unanimously by a jury at Mold Crown Court following three days of deliberations.
Whall was also found guilty of perverting the course of justice with another man, Gavin Jones (36) of Bangor.
During the trial, two other defendants, Darren Jones (41) of Penrhosgarnedd and Martin Roberts (34) of Bangor admitted arson after Whall’s Land Rover Discovery vehicle was set alight.
Justice Nerys Jefford told Whall that the only sentence he could expect was life in jail – but she needed to consider the minimum term before he can be considered for parole.
Detectives described Whall as a ”cold blooded killer” who showed no remorse for a ”planned, premeditated execution”.
All four men will be sentenced on Friday.
The court heard the motive behind the murder remained unclear, although Mr Corrigan and his partner, Marie Bailey, were alleged to be the victims of a £250,000 fraud by convicted conman Richard Wyn Lewis.
Both Whall and Jones were arrested at Mr Lewis’ home in May last year following an alleged dispute over money.
The prosecution, led by Peter Rouch QC, argued Whall’s links with Mr Lewis may be of significance, but the defence claimed there was no evidence before the shooting.
At just before 12.30am on Friday 18th April 2019, Mr Corrigan was watching television when he lost the signal on his Sky system – he was shot as he was adjusting the satellite dish outside.
Whall claimed he never met Mr Corrigan and in a nearby field on the night of the shooting having sex with another man, Thomas Williams.
But Mr Williams denied seeing the defendant and told the court that their friendship had never been sexual. Whall had previously claimed he stayed at his Bryngwran home, which he shared with his girlfriend.
In a police interview, he admitted owning a crossbow but claimed it had been sold off months before the murder – and a new one ordered online was not delivered until after Mr Corrigan was shot.
Detectives seized a punchbag with holes which had suggested he had used the crossbow for target practice.
Prosecutors said Whall’s exact movements that night were tracked by ‘black box’ GPS data from his Land Rover Discovery, which showed he was in the area on both the night of the shooting and the night before.
On 3 June, the white Land Rover 4×4 was taken from a house in Engedi and set alight – it was later found burnt out near a quarry at Llanllechid.
Gerald Corrigan specialised in photography and video at Blackpool and the Fylde College in Lancashire. He had retired to Anglesey more than twenty years ago.
In a statement released at the end of the trial on Monday, his partner, Marie Bailey, said: ”Gerry was my partner in life, my best friend, he meant the world to me.”
”Every day I am faced with the reality of no Gerry Corrigan in my life anymore. Each day my heart is broken, I feel it breaking again and I can do nothing. For Gerry’s family and friends, I am sorry we have lost him, our lives poorer and somehow empty without him.”
”To that sad, twisted, broken soul who murdered him, I say if you have an ounce of humanity, any sense of decency then you would tell us now why you have done this.”
”Anybody who knows anything about why this man would have carried out such a despicable act, then I would implore you to come forward. To you I say this, I am sorry for you and you have been given what you deserve.”
Neale Corrigan, Gerald’s son, added: ”I would like to say to those who are even thinking of attacking another, please know that you are devastating the lives of so many others.”
”My father was so diligent and wise, he often said to me be patient and forgive. To those who are guilty, as my father in heaven has given me strength and forgiven me, I am really trying to forgive you. I urge you to seek God and find the strength to turn your life around.”
Fiona Corrigan described her father as ”an average bloke enjoy his retirement”.
She said: ”The reason the news of the shooting was such a shock for us was that he was such a good man…he enjoyed a lie in, a nice cup of tea and reading books. He loved Laurel and Hardy films and photographing flowers and mountains. Our lives won’t be the same without him.”
”The injuries caused by a crossbow are not designed to just kill, they are designed to mutilate. The particular weapon us designed for hunting to bring down big game, and that is what my dad became. Prey. We may never know why.”
Up to forty detectives worked on the biggest murder hunt on Anglesey since the killing of Mabel Leyshon at her Llanfairpwll home in 2001. Her neighbour, Matthew Hardman, was jailed for life the following year.
A few days after Mr Corrigan’s death in hospital, then Prime Minister Theresa May appealed in the House of Commons for anyone with information about the shooting to come forward.
It also led to calls from now-ex Labour MP for Ynys Môn, Albert Owen, for a UK Government review on the laws surrounding crossbows.
In a briefing following the conclusion of the trial, North Wales Police outlined the evidence which led to Whall’s conviction.
- Whall ordered various crossbow bolts and hunting broadheads from early March onwards in preparation for the murder
- He practiced shooting into a punchbag at close range at his home
- A week before the shooting, he purchased a high powered crossbow, intended for use to kill Mr Corrigan
- He carried a reconnaissance trip to Mr Corrigan’s house the night before the shooting
- He concealed his Land Rover Discovery near Porth Dafarch beach, and in the dead of night, walked the remote coastal path to Mr Corrigan’s home
- He interfered with the Sky satellite dish, situated at ground level outside the address – lying in wait until Mr Corrigan stepped outside to adjust it
- Whall’s weapon, the 20 inch crossbow bolt, had a razor sharp hunting attachement – the type used to kill large animals in countries where such hunting is allowed
Detective Chief Inspector, Brian Kearney, said Gerald Corrigan was the victim of ”a barbaric, medieval style execution in one of the safest parts of the UK.”
He added: ”Gerald, a pensioner, lived in a tranquil and remote location, with his disabled partner. He was entirely innocent…sadly, his death was inevitable as his injuries were so horrific.”
”Terence Whall believed he had planned and committed the perfect murder. There was no forensic evidence, no direct eyewitness evidence to the shooting, and in fact, no one saw him going to and from the scene. This was a case based on circumstantial evidence.”
”However, this case has been solved by you, our community. We have received brilliant help from witnesses. A combination of local people, holiday makers, experts and businesses provided us, your police service with the evidence needed.”
”In such a cold blooded killing, I understand some individuals initial reluctance, but I am eternally grateful to all who had the courage to come forward thereby protecting our community.”
”The complexity of this enquiry cannot be understated. What is clear is that whilst the exact motive is unknown, as outlined by Peter Rouch QC, is that someone wanted Gerald Corrigan killed.”
”This is clearly in the wider context that the victim was a source or potential source of grief to local criminality.”