Man sentenced for random crossbow attacks
A man who used a high powered hunting crossbow to randomly shoot two members of the public has been sentenced to an indefinite hospital order.
Andrew Ramdeen, 30 of Green Lane, Northwood, pleaded guilty to two counts of Section 18 GBH at Isleworth Crown Court at an earlier hearing.
He was sentenced in a virtual hearing at the same court today, Friday, January 28, to a section 37 Hospital Order with a section 41 Restrictions Order, meaning a Home Office panel would have to agree any changes to Randeem’s detention.
The judge remarked that he considered Randeem dangerous and that, had a hospital order not been the disposal option, he would have passed a sentence of 14 years and 9 years imprisonment, four of which would have been served on license.
The first incident occurred on August 26, 2020, when a 19-year-old man was walking along The Greenway, Uxbridge at around 22:25hrs when a crossbow bolt sliced through his ear as it passed his head before striking a parked car.
On September 14 at 20:02hrs a 33-year-old man was walking in Pield Heath Road when without warning he was shot in the torso with a crossbow bolt. He suffered a ruptured aortic artery and punctured internal organs, losing five litres of blood but ultimately survived.
Detectives had already been deep into their investigation when the second incident occurred and they were linked due to the location of the incidents and the weapon used.
Witnesses did not see the suspect, but they did describe seeing a white van without a registration number making off from the scene in both instances.
Computer modelling of both crime scenes established the first victim had been shot at a distance of 146ft, while the second was hit at just six feet.
Forensic CCTV examination was undertaken, covering a wide geographical area. Eventually detectives pinpointed an area where the vehicle appeared to vanish.
Concentrating on this area officers uncovered a similar vehicle that appeared a few minutes later on the same route, but this time with a different registration number.
Officers worked to identify the vehicle and established that it was used as a company delivery vehicle. Enquiries with the company revealed Ramdeen as the attacker and matched his location at the time of each attack.
Though he had made a concentrated effort to evade capture by removing the license plate in both incidents, he failed to notice that the vehicle he was using had a tracking device fitted by his employer.
Ramdeen was arrested by armed officers while he was driving the vehicle on September 21, 2020.
A search of his home address was conducted and officers found the crossbow – an Anglo Arms Panther 175lb hunting crossbow – with bolts that matched those from the scenes of the attacks. Further CCTV was found showing Ramdeen entering his address with the crossbow.
The motivation behind the attacks has never been fully established.
Detective Inspector Daniel McInerney said: “It’s no exaggeration to say that in both instances the difference between life and death was but a matter of millimeters.
“If the variation of the bolts had been ever so slightly different, two sets of families would lost a loved one and we’d have been looking at two very different investigations. It’s pure good fortune that the second victim was so close to a hospital. The doctors and nurses saved this man’s life.
“The work of the investigative team to bring Ramdeen to justice was determined and painstaking. No stone was left unturned in the effort to find the person responsible, and the overwhelming evidence we presented left Ramdeen with no choice but to plead guilty to these horrendous attacks.
“Though Randeem’s motive has never been established, the judge has been clear that he is considered a danger to the public and he has been sentenced appropriately.”
Last month Home Secretary Priti Patel ordered a review of the current rules surrounding crossbow ownership after a 19-year-old man was arrested at Windsor Castle on Christmas Day while allegedly in possession of a crossbow.
Demands for tighter regulation of crossbows initially came after the five-day inquest into the death of Shane Gilmer who died after his neighbour, Anthony Lawrence, broke into his house in January 2018 and shot both him and his partner Laura Sugden, who survived the attack.
The coroner, Professor Paul Marks, submitted a report to Ms Patel in May in which he said he was concerned there is “no ongoing control, record or licensing requirement for (crossbows)”, unlike firearms.
Because of this, he said, “the police have no record of who owns crossbows, how they are stored (or) the number that are in circulation.”
The coroner called on the Government to review the Crossbows Act 1987 and the Offensive Weapons Act 2019, “with the intention of regulating the sale and possession of these lethal weapons”.
The issue of crossbow legislation was addressed in the October (681) issue of Police Professional. Subscribers can read the article here.