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Independents' Day

Patient in GP crossbow attack found guilty of attempted murder

A patient who burst into a GP’s consultation room and shot him with a crossbow has been found guilty of attempted murder.

Mark Waterfall carried out the attack because he blamed Dr Gary Griffith for the death of his dad four days earlier in hospital.

The 46-year-old is now facing up to the prospect of a long prison sentence after being found guilty of the attempted murder of the doctor at his surgery in Watford last July.

St Albans Crown Court heard that the bolt, which travelled at a speed of 187 feet per second, struck Dr Griffith in the left side of his stomach.

Miraculously he survived because it was warm in the room and he had loosened his shirt around his waist that morning so that it was gathered up around his midriff.

It meant the arrow had to pass through four layers of his check cotton shirt and didn’t go deep enough into his body to kill him.

Before Mr Waterfall fired the metal-tipped bolt, he told the doctor: 'You killed my father and I am going to kill you.’

Mr Waterfall was found guilty by the jury at St Albans Crown Court yesterday.

Trial Judge Stephen Warner adjourned the sentencing for the preparation of reports, including a psychiatric report.

Remanding him in custody, the judge told him: 'I am going to order a pre-sentence report and a psychiatric report to assess your dangerousness - the risk you represent to the public.

'You have been convicted of the very serious offence of the attempted murder of a GP in his surgery and it’s inevitable you will receive a significant custodial sentence.’

During the three-day trial, the court heard how Mr Waterfall wrongly and irrationally blamed Mr Griffith for the death of his father, 76-year-old Terrence Waterfall.

Five days before the crossbow attack, Terrence Waterfall had gone to see the Mr Griffith at the Suthergrey House Medical Centre in St Johns Road, Watford complaining of breathlessness.

The doctor found he had fluid on his lung and arranged for him to be admitted to Watford General Hospital that same day.

The plan was for the fluid to be drained, but the court heard it was discovered at the hospital that the father had a cancer on his lung and the procedure couldn’t take place. The following day he died at the hospital.

Mark Waterfall, at the start of the trial, admitted a charge of wounding Dr Griffith with intent.

He will be sentenced next month.

Readers' comments (9)

  • I blame the "Daily Nutter"-for years of "inciting rage and anger" towards GPs.

    The crimes of The "Daily Nutter" now need addressing urgently.

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  • At least now the hatred incited by the likes of the daily nutter are starting to effect the MP who work at Parliament as well.Difference is we dont have police protection in our trench while they have an army guarding them.

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  • I wonder if at his next appraisal this brave GP will be asked how he reflected on this and what he could have done better to avoid inciting such hatred in the first place, and what steps he should take to avoid a repeat..

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  • Took Early Retirement

    yes, the RCGP will no doubt say that he "could have done more" to avoid it.

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  • Gallows

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  • Terrible thing to happen. Rising expectations must be in some way responsible for twisting peoples thought processes to this pathological extreme. The government and NICE are constantly telling people that its better if their GP does tests to detect their cancer early. As we know, reality is not often like this.

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  • Perhaps now is a good time to discuss the dangers we face on house calls before there is a fatality?

    Can you think of another professional that is going into peoples houses often by themselves with no support?

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  • The silence from the GMC, RCGP and BMA is deafening - I hope this brave GP has received some support from tour “top GPs”

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  • Yes agree GPs need far more protection and are very vulnerable. I also detest those GPs who avoid the risk of seeing patients by paying themselves large amounts of money to sit in pointless board meetings etc etc whilst they leave their brave colleagues at the frontline in fewer and fewer numbers ,along it ,ore unsafe for everyone. Time for the GP 'executives' to start seeing patients again please...

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