Northern Ireland

Eddie Girvan: 'High-on-drugs' killer to serve six-year term

Margaret Henderson-McCarroll Image copyright Margaret Henderson-McCarroll
Image caption Ms Henderson-McCarroll admitted the manslaughter of Eddie Girvan

A woman who killed a pensioner while "high on crystal meth and heroin" has been given a six-year sentence.

Margaret Henderson-McCarroll pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Eddie Girvan, 67, on the grounds of diminished responsibility in May.

The 31 year old, who has 100 previous convictions, was told she must serve three years in prison.

Sentencing her, Mr Justice Treacy said it was "an horrific crime".

Speaking in court on Monday, he said the victim "must have suffered terribly".

Mr Girvan was found dead at his Greenisland home in County Antrim. He was virtually naked, bound and gagged on 18 January 2016.

He had been stabbed in the chest and suffocated after being gagged with kitchen roll and a tie to stop him calling out for help.

The court had heard previously that either injury could have killed him.

The court was told that the pair, who had known each other for some years, had argued over money for sex.

Henderson-McCarroll said she had been acting in self defence and "poked" her victim with a cake knife after Mr Girvan came at her with a stick sword.

She said she had not meant to kill him and admitted that she had been high on crystal meth and heroin at the time.

Image copyright PACEMAKER
Image caption Eddie Girvan, 67, was a collector of antiques and jewellery

After the stabbing, Henderson-McCarroll admitted taking more heroin "to calm her nerves" before stealing Mr Girvan's car and driving it to Belfast.

She was involved in an accident at Custom House Square, Belfast which led police to find Mr Girvan's car at the city hostel where she had been living.

She was later arrested on an unrelated bench warrant and found to have a sat nav, a watch, and two sets of car keys in her possession.

The sat nav contained Mr Girvan's home address and, after several attempts to contact him at home, police broke in and found his body.

Henderson-McCarroll has 100 previous convictions for robbery, theft and assault.

The court heard she had bitten, punched and head butted elderly men, young women and children in the course of past crimes.

Image copyright Kirth Ferris
Image caption Police forensic officers at Mr Girvan's home where he was found dead in January 2016

A doctor's report stated that she had lived a "chaotic life" of drug addiction, alcohol abuse, crime and prostitution.

The court was told that she relapsed into heroin and crystal meth addiction after the death of her baby daughter.

She also previously admitted eight other charges connected to Mr Girvan's killing:

* Theft;

* Attempted theft;

* Aggravated vehicle-taking causing damage;

* Dangerous driving;

* Driving when unfit through drink or drugs;

* Driving without insurance;

* Failing to stop at an accident

* Failing to report an accident

For those crimes, she was sentenced to between one month and a year in prison - all to be served concurrently with her manslaughter sentence which was six years - three to be served in prison and three on licence.

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