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Pregnant woman shot with crossbow reveals how she played dead to survive

A pregnant woman whose partner was murdered by a crazed crossbow killer has revealed how she stayed alive. A pregnant woman whose partner was murdered by a crazed crossbow killer has revealed she only survived because the killer left her for dead. Laura Sugden, then aged 22, found herself in a life-and-death struggle with Tony Lawrence as her partner Shane Gilmer lay dying beside her. Former Territorial Army squaddie

Lawrence, 55, who owned several crossbows, had broken into the couple’s home through the loft. He was waiting when they returned to their home in the sleepy village of Southburn, near Driffield, East Yorkshire, after a romantic night out on January 12, 2018. When Ms. Sugden found him in her daughter’s bedroom with the crossbow, the housing officer and dad of two, Shane, 30, charged upstairs to rescue her. Lawrence shot Shane in the side, fatally wounding him, and then hit the head of the local government, Ms. Sugden. She said in an inquest: “I had to pull hard with both hands to get the arrow out. It hurt. I felt dizzy. Blood was dripping.

As she pulled the bolt out, Lawrence pushed her to the floor.

“I was lying on my back. Tony was on top of me,” she continued. He was trying to push the arrow into my throat. I wrestled with him. I knew I would die instantly if it went into my throat.” The inquest at Hull Coroner‘s Court heard Lawrence continued the murderous attack even after Ms. Sugden pleaded for the life of her unborn child.

All seemed lost before suddenly he stopped.

  • “He let go. He loosened his grip,” she said.
  • “He must have thought he had done what he needed to, and I would die.
  • “He was still saying I was not leaving until I was f***ing dead.”
  • When Lawrence left the room, a dying Mr. Gilmer begged Ms. Sugden to flee.
  • “Shane said he loved me and wanted me and the baby to be okay,” she said.

I thought it was our only chance of survival.

Pregnant woman

Ms. Sugden ran from the house and saw Lawrence drive off as she pounded on a neighbor’s door. The hearing was told she was the last person to see him alive. In a hired motor home on the North York Moors near Scarborough, he was found dead by a police-armed response team involved in the search. He was certified dead on January 14 but had probably died for two days from an overdose of painkillers and antidepressants.

Coroner Ian Sprakes recorded a conclusion of suicide.

He said: “It is clear to me that after attacking and killing Shane Gilmer and attacking and injuring Laura Sugden, he decided to take his own life.”

‘Known to cops.’

  • The hearing was told Lawrence had been “in and out of bothering with police” since childhood.
  • His parents split up after his dad found his mother cheating on him.
  • His Territory Army career ended when he was jailed for violence, and he became a reclusive loner.
  • He snapped after using a bug to listen in to conversations next door and found the couple had got him evicted for growing cannabis.
  • After the hearing, Ms. Sugden said she would not be alive if Lawrence had not been fooled into thinking she was already dying.
  • She said: “He probably thought I would be dead soon after he left.”
  • The mum of two has launched a campaign to outlaw crossbows sold over the counter.
  • She added: “The campaign is going very well. I am speaking to the Shadow Home Secretary this month, hoping he will push for a meeting with Priti Patel.”
  • She gave birth to Mr. Gilmer’s third child Ella Faith in June 2018.
  • Ms. Sugden and a male friend were the only people to attend the inquest.
  • She added: “The conclusion and facts were what I expected.”
  • This article originally appeared in The Sun and was republished with permission.

Molly Aronson

I'm an award-winning blogger who enjoys all things creative but is especially passionate about lifestyle design. I blog over at mehlogy.com I love that I get to share my passion for healthy living, fashion, fitness, and travel with readers from all over the world.

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