Northern Ireland

Eddie Girvan: Killer was high on crystal meth and heroin

Margaret Henderson-McCaroll Image copyright PACEMAKER
Image caption Margaret Henderson-McCarroll pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Eddie Girvan on the grounds of diminished responsibility last month

A woman who killed a pensioner was "high on crystal meth and heroin" at the time, a court has heard.

Margaret Henderson-McCarroll pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Eddie Girvan on the grounds of diminished responsibility last month.

The 31-year-old also admitted eight other charges.

She was due to be sentenced on Friday, but a judge has delayed his ruling while a recording of the killing is further investigated.

Belfast Crown Court heard Henderson-McCarroll gagged the 63-year-old, who she had known for some years, with kitchen roll at his home in Greenisland in January last year.

It was heard that the mother-of-two would come and stay with Mr Girvan and he would pay her for sexual relations.

When Mr Girvan's body was found, he was "virtually naked, bound and gagged, seated in a room in the ground floor".

He had been stabbed in the chest and suffered asphyxiation after being gagged with kitchen roll to stop him calling for help. It was heard either injury could have killed him.

The court heard Mr Girvan's hands were bound with three of his own ties, his feet were also bound, his trousers were around his ankles and he was wearing a dressing gown which was open.

Henderson-McCarroll was initially arrested on an unrelated bench warrant and found with a sat nav, a watch, and two sets of car keys.

Image copyright PACEMAKER
Image caption Henderson-McCarroll crashed Mr Girvan's car not long after she killed him

During police interviews, Henderson-McCarroll said she had stabbed the victim with a cake knife during an argument after he came at her with "a wee stick sword".

The prosecution said she told police she had "freaked out" because he "wouldn't stop squealing" and was shouting "murder, murder".

She told police she had taken heroin "to calm her down" and drove Mr Girvan's car to Belfast where she had an accident at Custom House Square which led to her arrest.

She added she wanted more drugs, and was going to go back to Mr Girvan after "letting him calm down".

The prosecution said Henderson-McCarroll told police she had not meant to kill Mr Girvan, and that he would not have died had she not been "high on heroin and crystal meth".

'Danger to the public'

The judge said: "This is quite a gruesome case, the defendant has an insatiable and uncontrollable appetite for serious drugs."

He added that until she dealt with that addiction, he believed she was likely to pose a danger to the public.

A defence barrister for Henderson-McCarroll said it was his understanding a police tape recorded the defendant describing Mr Girvan as shouting: "Margaret, Margaret", not "Murder, murder" before he was gagged.

The judge said this needed to be made clear, and adjourned the case until next month for sentencing.

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