A 74-year-old man sat in his house watching television. It was just after midnight on Good Friday 2019 when the signal went out. He walked outside to adjust his satellite dish when he felt sudden and searing pain. He told his wife he’d been electrocuted, and she called for an ambulance.
Gerald Corrigan, a retired photography lecturer, had not been electrocuted. He had been shot with a crossbow in the most brutal and inexplicable murder the small Welsh community of Holy Island, just off Anglesey in the Irish Sea, had ever experienced. Corrigan, a quiet man who had lived peacefully in his pebble-dashed cottage for more than 25 years, was devastatingly injured and died in hospital 22 days later. His killer had been no more than ten metres away from the door, behind a wall, waiting for him to come out.
Corrigan’s murderer was apprehended and found guilty in 2020, but the motive remains a mystery. The Crossbow Killer, a BBC Sounds series produced and hosted by Meic Parry, attempts to understand why anyone would commit such a crime. Corrigan’s daughter Fiona tells Parry: “They used a weapon that people use to hunt wild game. He was hunted! My father was hunted.”
The series is given dramatic narration by Tim Hinman, a Happy Valley-style soundtrack of bluesy guitar riffs, and a specially commissioned poem by Rhys Iorwerth. Episode one, “Murder in the Middle of Nowhere”, juxtaposes clips of aghast residents (“We don’t get things like this here!”) with sombre media reports (“This is now the largest murder investigation on Anglesey since 2001”) and narrates events in unnecessarily gory detail. Parry, from a nearby part of north Wales, speaks to local reporters and Corrigan’s family, and examines court and medical records in an attempt to fathom the unfathomable.
The Crossbow Killer
This article appears in the 05 Jul 2023 issue of the New Statesman, Broke Britannia