Southampton man jailed after crossbow attack on friend

Taxi driver Maricel Melinte, 47, was convicted of attempted murder in December following an incident at his home at Fuschia Gardens on September 26 2021.

Just before 3pm, the victim was sitting in the garden when he was shot in the back of the head at close range.

Melinte then tried to attack him with a hammer. However, the badly injured man managed to fight him off and dashed into the house, locking his assailant outside before stumbling into the street and collapsing.

Police arrested Melinte in the garden as well as seizing the crossbow and a broken bolt shaft.

Both men were taken to University Hospital Southampton. CT scans showed the bolt was lodged in the victim’s skull and had pierced his brain.

He was not expected to live but neurosurgeons successfully carried out a complicated and lengthy operation to remove the bolt.

After regaining consciousness, the revealed said he had unwittingly filmed the incident on his camera, which he had placed on top of Melinte’s shed to record a time-lapse video.

The camera had been recovered as part of a forensic search of the garden.

Police say the victim still has issues with his left eye and right elbow, which was dislocated during the incident and also required surgery, but describe him as being “on the road to recovery”.

Daily Echo: An X-ray image showing the crossbow bolt embedded in the victim's skullAn X-ray image showing the crossbow bolt embedded in the victim’s skull (Image: Hampshire police)

Melinte was sentenced at Winchester Crown Court.

Detective Inspector Howard Broadribb, who led the investigation, said: “The fact the victim survived such an ordeal is quite simply a miracle. The bolt was millimetres away from killing him.

“I can only be thankful it stopped where it did so he was able to give us his account of what happened that afternoon.

“Although thankfully he is still with us, his life has been changed forever in the space of a few seconds due to Melinte’s incomprehensible actions.

“I would like to commend his bravery throughout the court process.

“We may never know why Melinte decided to commit this awful act, but thanks to the hard work of the investigators and the footage obtained from the camera, he will be spending a long time behind bars for this terrifying attack.

“We used all the resources at our disposal to make sure the victim got the justice he deserved.”

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