A man who fired a crossbow at a GP in his surgery in Watford has today (Friday, February 15) been sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Mark Waterfall, aged 46, of Fairhaven Crescent in South Oxhey, appeared before St Albans Crown Court after being previously found guilty of attempted murder by a jury on January 9.
The court heard how on July 10, 2018, Waterfall went to Suthergrey House Medical Centre in St John’s Road with a loaded crossbow hidden in a plastic bag.
He went straight to the GP’s consultation room, opened the door and told the doctor – who had been his family’s GP for a number of years – that he was going to kill him, before firing the weapon.
The crossbow dart travelled a distance of between five to six metres across the room before striking the victim in the abdomen, penetrating the skin by 1cm.
As it was such a hot day, the doctor had loosened his shirt so because the dart had to penetrate several folds of fabric, it was not able to cause a life-threatening wound.
Waterfall went to leave the surgery and the victim followed him, trying to reason with him and convince him to go to the police station on nearby Shady Lane.
He then returned to the surgery where a colleague dressed his wound, and he called the police.
In the meantime, Waterfall arrived at the front desk of Watford Police Station and surrendered himself to officers.
He was promptly arrested and, following a search in custody, officers found a USB stick strapped to his toe that held files where he documented his hatred for the victim.
The court heard that the motive behind the attack was that Waterfall blamed the GP for his father’s death a few days prior, on July 6, 2018.
Waterfall’s father, who was in his 70s, had made an appointment with the GP on July 5, 2018, because he was suffering breathlessness.
After an examination, the doctor found that Mr Waterfall Senior had fluid on his lungs so arranged for him to be admitted to Watford General Hospital the same day for a drain procedure.
However, further tests in hospital showed that he had advanced cancer of the lung, which meant this could not be done. He sadly passed away the following day.
Investigating officer, detective constable Lewis Mortimer, from the Watford Local Crime Unit, said: “This was a frightening ordeal for the victim who was just going about his daily business at his workplace, serving the local community and supporting their health.
“Thankfully, due to the fact his shirt was loosened on that day, he did not suffer life-changing or life-threatening injuries but it could have been a very different story.
“I would like to commend the victim for his actions on the day of the incident, and for the professionalism and resilience he has shown throughout the resulting judicial process.
“Those who have lost a parent can likely identify with the grief that Waterfall must have no doubt been feeling after the death of his father. However, the actions he took on July 10 last year were way beyond that of a reasonable person.”
Waterfall must serve at least two thirds of his sentence before being considering for parole. Upon his release he will be subject to an extended licence of five years.