05:08PM, Tuesday 31 July 2018
A 19-year-old man has been jailed for 17-years over the death of a mother who was hit with acid while she sat on a town bench.
Xeneral Webster was sentenced today (Tuesday) at Reading Crown Court for the death of Joanne Rand.
Mrs Rand, from Marlow, sustained fatal injuries while a fight broke out in High Wycombe on June 3 last year.
The incident happened when Webster travelled from London to meet an associate. He then tried to steal a bicycle from a man he knew in Higy Wycombe but when that man resisted the theft, Webster pulled out the bottle of acid, removed the lid and threatened him with it.
The man knocked the bottle out of Webster's hand and it was kicked in Mrs Rand's direction on the struggle.
Mrs Rand suffered serious burns across her face, arms, upper body and lower legs after being doused with the fluid. She was taken to hospital but died of sepsis on June 14 at Stoke Mandeville Hospital.
Webster fled the scene but was later arrested and charged.
Webster pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Mrs Rand part-way through his murder trial. The change of plea was accepted by the prosecution and Webster was jailed for 17-years with a three-year extended license for the incident and number of other offences.
Speaking outisde court, Mrs Rand’s daughter Katie Pitwell said although Webster now has to face the consequences this will never bring back her mum.
She said: “I have to live the rest of my life with the fact she will never be at my wedding, or see me as I progress through life. This shouldn’t have happened to her.
“This has left such a big impact on all of our lives but we are satisfied knowing this killer won’t be able to hurt others now.”
Joanne Rand and her daughter Katie Pitwell
Adrian Foster, from the CPS, said: “Joanne Rand was not the intended victim of the attack but the prosecution was brought on the basis that by producing an open bottle of acid and raising it to the face of another man, Xeneral Webster intended to cause that individual really serious harm.
“Had Webster not planned to seriously hurt the intended victim, Joanne would still be alive today and he is responsible for her death.
“The consequences of Webster’s actions serve as a tragic example. I hope his conviction and subsequent sentence will serve as a reminder that the full extent of the law will be used robustly against those who use acid as a weapon intending to maim, disfigure or cause the death of a victim.
“Nothing will bring Joanne back to her family and friends, but we hope today’s sentence brings them, at least, a small sense that justice has been done.”
Senior investigating officer Detective Chief Inspector Nick Glister, of Buckinghamshire Force CID, said: "Webster himself had been subjected to an acid attack and received injuries to his face just months before he too made the decision to carry acid during this horrific incident.
"Joanne was a much loved mother, sister, partner, friend and colleague and is deeply missed by all those who knew and loved her. The attack was painful and caused untold suffering to her family.
"I would like to pay tribute to Joanne's relatives for the dignity and support they've shown throughout the investigation and for so eloquently speaking out against those who carry acid. They don't want anyone else to go through what they've been through and neither do we.
"While attacks of this nature are not common in the Thames Valley, this is little comfort to Joanne's family. No sentence will ever go any way towards easing their pain, but I hope they feel it goes some way towards enabling them to have a sense of closure on these utterly tragic events."
Webster was also given concurrent sentences for the following charges:
Three counts of having an offensive weapon - on June 12 2017 he had a Samurai sword with him in London. On April 19 2017 he had ammonia on him in London. On June 3 2017 in High Wycombe he was in possession of a bottle of acid.
One count of making a threat to kill - on June 12 2017 he made a threat to a woman stating he would kill two men
One count of damaging property - on June 12 he damaged a Mercedes in London
One count of affray in connection with the incident
He was acquitted to one count of robbery and one count of attempting to cause grievous bodily harm
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