A man has been jailed for life with a minimum of 27 years for the murder of 38-year-old Lee Atkins with a crossbow on 6 May 2019. Lee was murdered by David Ball, 49 years, on Monfa Road in Bootle following an altercation in the street. Ball sought to continue the dispute by retrieving a crossbow stored at a friend's house and firing it at Lee. Lee was taken to hospital after the incident happened at around 1.50am on the Bank Holiday but despite the efforts of paramedics, he was pronounced dead a short time later. Following enquiries, David Ball, 49 years, of Brookhill Close, Bootle was arrested and charged with murder. Detective Chief Inspector Gayle Rooney said: "This has been a very difficult time for the family of Lee Atkins but our main aim has been to support them through this process. "Ball chose to escalate a disagreement between two people who knew each other to a sickening level of violence, with tragic consequences. "His decision has not only cost a man his life, and caused unspeakable suffering to all who knew Lee – it has now cost Ball his liberty for a long time. "Thankfully the use of crossbows in Merseyside is rare, but anyone who carries or has access to weapons is capable of inflicting this level of violence on others. That is why we proactively target those offenders and serious and organised crime groups who store, carry and use weapons in our communities. "We will continue to carry out warrants, land searches, stop searches and more to take such weapons off our streets and bring offenders to justice to protect the public. "I welcome the fact Ball will now spend a long time behind bars. I hope he spends the time wisely, and reflects on the significant impact his actions have had on so many people, and I hope his jailing today serves as a lesson to anyone out there who thinks it is a good idea to keep any weapon in their possession."
DCI Rooney added: "During the course of this investigation, as with others, we encountered an unwillingness by some members of the community to come forward with information. "So I would like to extend my thanks to the brave people who have stepped forward and given evidence. They have not only played a crucial role in bringing justice for Lee's family, they have also helped remove an extremely dangerous individual from a community the court heard he had terrorised for many years. "The police are determined to continue to build relationships with communities in order to prevent weapons being used in violence on our streets. But I would also like to reassure people that if you don’t want to contact police, you can leave information anonymously by calling the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.” The family of Lee Atkins issued the following statement: "Today’s sentencing is somewhat bittersweet as despite preventing Mr Ball from destroying any other families like he has with ours, we still do not have Lee with us. "We will however be able to start our grieving process and learn to adjust without him, as the end of this court case has provided us with some closure. "As a family we would like to thank those that have come forward to help with this investigation, those who stayed with Lee at the scene, the NHS staff who tried their best to save Lee and also Merseyside Police who have worked tirelessly to get justice."