Man is cleared of threatening boat crew with a crossbow in Oulton Broad
10:08 08 April 2014
A man accused of threatening to shoot the crew of a boat with a crossbow because he was fed up with speeding powerboats rocking his houseboat on Oulton Broad has been cleared of an offence of affray.
During his trial at Ipswich Crown Court, Paul Webb – who has lived on his boat for six years – told a jury he had made repeated complaints to the authorities about his boat being buffeted by the wash from speedboats, which failed to slow down near the area where residential boats were moored.
He admitted he was “jarred off” by the inconsiderate behaviour of some speedboat drivers but denied losing his temper and threatening to shoot the crew of a safety boat last August.
The court heard that Webb, 53, was arrested after armed police were called to Oulton Broad on August 8 last year following a complaint that he had brandished a crossbow and threatened a group of men on a safety boat.
Webb, of The Boulevard, Oulton Broad, denied affray.
Giving evidence, Webb said he had been trying to dust off a large cobweb on his boat when he was knocked off his feet by a powerboat “zooming” past his boat followed by a safety boat.
He said he wasn’t too concerned the first time it happened but when it happened again he had stuck his head out of a canvas canopy and asked the crew of the safety boat, which had pulled up next to his boat, what was going on.
He said while removing the cobweb he had taken down a crossbow, which he kept secured to the ceiling, and had leaned on it “for stability” while talking to the men on the safety boat as his boat was still rocking.
He denied waving the crossbow over his head and threatening to shoot the men on the safety boat.
He had later gone out on a friend’s boat and claimed that as he returned to his vessel he was confronted by armed police and ended up on the ground with guns pointing at his head.