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Murder trial begins over death of Marlow mum hit by acid

A murder trial over the death of a mum who was hit with acid soon after a visit to her daughter’s grave began at Reading Crown Court this week.

Joanne Rand of Byron Close, Marlow, was struck with high strength sulphuric acid as she sat on a bench in Frogmore, High Wycombe on June 3 last year.

A jury heard yesterday (Wednesday) how the 47-year-old ran to a KFC to wash off the acid before she was sent to Stoke Mandeville Hospital with burns on up to five per cent of her body.

After being discharged from hospital for a day she was readmitted and on June 14 died of multi organ failure, brought on by sepsis as a result of the acid.

Xeneral Webster of Westway, London, is on trial for her murder.

Prosecuting lawyer Allison Hunter told the jury CCTV footage shows the 19-year-old arriving in High Wycombe by train at about at about 3.30pm before walking around the town with another man.

The court was told the pair approached Saquib Hussain, who had been cycling around the town carrying out ‘small exchanges of drugs’.

The jury heard Webster approached Mr Hussain and tried to grab his bicycle before saying ‘I am going to stab you up, I’ve got a knife’.

“Webster can be seen fiddling with his satchel,” said Ms Hunter.

“What he produces next is an open topped bottle of acid and makes to throw it towards Mr Hussain.

“At this moment Mr Hussain, panicking, knocks the acid out of Mr Webster's hand."

Ms Hunter said the bottle rolled away hitting Ms Rand who was sitting a few metres away.

She noticed that her hair was wet and face was burning.

“She screamed that she had been hit with acid,” said Ms Hunter.

The prosecution added Webster then set off on Mr Hussain’s bike wearing a balaclava.

The court heard he discarded the bottle and bicycle before heading back to London on the train.

Ms Hunter told the jury: “That Joanne Rand was not his intended victim makes no difference in law to his culpability for her death.

“He was intending to unlawfully kill or at least cause grievous bodily harm to another person.”

She added that Webster had himself been the victim of an acid attack earlier that year so knew the harm it could cause.

Webster has pleaded not guilty to murder and an alternative charge of manslaughter.

He is also on trial for two counts of carrying an offensive weapon, robbery and grievous bodily harm with intent.

The trial continues and is expected to last up to three weeks.


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