05:00PM, Wednesday 18 April 2018
A 19-year-old man has pleaded guilty to manslaughter over the death of a mum who was hit with acid while she sat on a bench.
Xeneral Webster, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to the charge yesterday (Wednesday) during a trial over the death of 47-year-old Joanne Rand at Reading Crown Court.
He was acquitted of one count of murder.
At about 4.50pm on Saturday, June 3 last year Ms Rand, of Byron Close, was sitting on a bench in Frogmoor after visiting her daughter’s grave.
Nearby, Webster threatened another man with a bottle containing high strength sulphuric acid before the other man knocked and kicked the bottle away from him.
Ms Rand felt the liquid land on her and a sensation of burning.
She ran in to a nearby KFC restaurant to call for assistance.
She was taken to Stoke Mandeville Hospital for treatment for her burns and was subsequently discharged.
She was readmitted to hospital on Friday, June 9 where she died of multi organ failure, brought on by sepsis as a result of the acid, on Wednesday, June 14.
Webster had previously pleaded not guilty to murder and an alternate manslaughter charge when the trial began last week.
Senior investigating officer Detective Chief Inspector Nick Glister, of Force CID, said: “Webster showed a total disregard for the innocent members of the public who were present that day and his actions took a much loved mum, sister, and partner away from her many family and friends.
“Acid attacks are horrific.
“Their consequences devastate lives.
“I hope this case is a pertinent reminder to anyone considering carrying this dangerous substance that doing so can have very serious consequences.”
Adrian Foster, Chief Crown Prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said: “Despite Joanne not being Webster’s intended victim, the prosecution was brought on the basis that by producing an open bottle of acid and raising it to the face of the man whose bike he was trying to steal, Webster intended to cause that individual really serious harm.
“Webster was responsible for the death of Joanne and had he not planned to hurt the intended victim, Joanne would still be alive.”
Webster was remanded in custody to appear at the same court for sentencing on Friday, June 15.
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