Northern Ireland

Eddie Girvan killer's 'lenient sentence should be reviewed'

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

A woman who could be freed in 18 months after being convicted of killing a pensioner should face a longer prison term, two MLAs have said.

Roy Beggs, UUP, and Gordon Lyons, DUP, said the sentence given to Margaret Henderson-McCarroll should be referred to the Court of Appeal.

She was given a six-year sentence for the manslaughter of Eddie Girvan, 67.

The 31-year-old pleaded guilty on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

Henderson-McCarroll, who has 100 previous convictions, was told she must serve three years in prison and three years out on licence.

She could be freed in 18 months because of time she has already served in custody.

The Public Prosecutions Service (PPS) said it is considering if there is a basis for referring the case to the Court of Appeal "on the grounds that it is unduly lenient".

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

During sentencing, the judge described it as an "horrific crime".

Mr Girvan was found dead, virtually naked, bound and gagged at his Greenisland home in County Antrim in 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 was told that the pair, who had known each other for some years, had argued over money for sex.

Henderson-McCarroll said she had acted in self defence and that she had been high on crystal meth and heroin at the time of Mr Girvan's death.

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

Roy Beggs, an East Antrim MLA, told BBC Radio Ulster's Talkback programme he had written to the director of the PPS asking that the sentence be referred to the Court of Appeal.

"The public in my constituency do not feel it's appropriate.

"Sentencing should have a variety of purposes - there's the punishment aspect, there's a rehabilitation aspect but there's also the protection aspect, a protection of the public.

"Now, this is a repeat offender. Someone who carried out a horrendous crime. There were multiple stab wounds - one of 10cm, one of 3cm - there was then the gagging and then the abandonment of Eddie Girvan, during which he suffered and died.

"There is a great fear that this repeat offender could be out on the streets within 18 months and that shows that it is not sufficient."

Gordon Lyons said people in Greenisland had been "shocked and outraged at the unduly lenient sentence that had been handed down".

"Sentences like this do not send a clear message to those who are criminals and who seek to destroy life and property. The taking of a life should result in more than just three years in prison."

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