A man has been convicted of manslaughter after a nurse he splashed with “industrial-strength corrosive sulphuric acid” contracted sepsis and died.
Joanne Rand, 47, was sitting on a bench after visiting her daughter’s grave in Frogmoor, Buckinghamshire, when she was splashed with acid which 19-year-old Xeneral Webster had intended to throw at Saqib Hussain, who he was attempting to rob.
“On Saturday 3rd June, Joanne was sitting on a bench on a warm summer’s day in Frogmoor, a busy square in the centre of High Wycombe,” explained Detective Chief Inspector Nick Glister.
“Nearby Xeneral Webster, who she had never met and who had travelled from London, threatened another man with a bottle containing acid in an attempt to steal his bike. The other man knocked and kicked the bottle away, spilling the contents over Joanne.
“She instantly sustained painful and disfiguring burns as a result and ran away to a nearby restaurant to desperately call for help. In the days which followed she met the investigating officers who were working to identify who was responsible for her injuries, which would have been life-changing had she survived.
“Tragically Joanne developed sepsis and was taken back into hospital, where she died 11 days after the incident. 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 Attack Epidemic Spills into Home Counties from Sadiq Khan’s London https://t.co/NkZ30epuoO
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“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,” said Chief Crown Prosecutor Adrian Foster.
“The intended victim acted reasonably, in the circumstances, by deflecting the bottle away from himself. Webster was responsible for the death of Joanne and had he not planned to hurt the intended victim, Joanne would still be alive.”
However, the prosecution accepted not guilty pleas to murder, robbery, and attempted grievous bodily harm, accepting a guilty plea for the lesser charge of manslaughter.
He also pleaded guilty to two counts of possessing an offensive weapon — a bottle ammonia and a bottle of acid — and one count of affray.
Earlier in April, he pleaded guilty to three other offences: one count of possessing an offensive weapon — a Samurai sword he was carrying in Tamerisk Square, London, in June 2017 — one count of making a threat to kill, and one count of damaging property.