Joanne Rand acid death: Man jailed for 17 years

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Joanne Rand acid death: Man jailed for 17 years

A man has been jailed for 17 years for the manslaughter of a woman who died 11 days after being splashed with acid.

Xeneral Webster, 19, was arguing with another man in High Wycombe when he took out a bottle of acid which splashed Joanne Rand head-to-toe.

Ms Rand, 47, was sitting on a bench after visiting her daughter's grave when the acid hit her on 3 June 2017.

Webster, of Westway, west London, had admitted manslaughter during his murder trial at Reading Crown Court.

The court had heard Webster travelled to Frogmoor, High Wycombe, with sulphuric acid which was knocked from his grasp by another man during a scuffle over a bicycle.

After the corrosive liquid hit Ms Rand she screamed in pain and ran to a nearby restaurant to douse herself with water.

Image source, Thames Valley Police
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Xeneral Webster, 19, retrieved the bottle of acid before fleeing the scene in a balaclava

The mother-of-three was treated in hospital and discharged but died on 14 June last year from multi-organ failure after contracting septicaemia.

During the trial, prosecutor Alison Hunter QC said it "made no difference" the care home worker was not the intended victim because Webster knew the consequences of having the chemical in public, having been the victim of an acid attack himself just months before.

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Sentencing Webster, Judge Angela Morris said: "You and your actions bear the responsibility for her tragic demise.

"The cost of your actions were incalculable and irreparable for her family and friends and there is no sentence which this court can pass which can replace the value of her life.

"The fact remains, you had this substance with you in a public place and you cannot have failed to realise the significant harm its contents would have caused to others had it been released.

"Because it is a liquid it is all the more likely to be indiscriminate in its spread."

Image source, PA
Image caption,
Xeneral Webster was aware of the dangers of acid, having been a victim of an acid attack, his trial heard

Det Ch Insp Nick Glister, from Thames Valley Police, described Ms Rand as a "completely innocent party who was in the wrong place at the wrong time".

Her older sister, Lynn Ryan, described her sibling as "a very caring person, she wouldn't want to harm anybody".

"When it [the acid injury] happened to her, she was shocked as to why."

Image source, Thames Valley Police
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Joanne Rand's daughter, Katie Pitwell (right) called for tougher sentences for acid-related crimes

Webster was also sentenced for two counts of possessing an offensive weapon, namely a samurai sword and ammonia, criminal damage and making threats to kill relating to a separate incident to which he pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing.

Ms Rand's daughter, Katie Pitwell, has since called for tougher sentences for acid cases.

"I think the buying of acid needs to be restricted, but also, if someone is carrying it, there should be tougher sentences because most of the time they do intend to use it for harm," she said.

"People need to know that if they're carrying that type of stuff, it's going to hurt someone or kill someone."

Image source, Thames Valley Police
Image caption,
Joanne Rand's 19-year-old daughter died in a road accident in 2011, she had visited her grave on the day she was injured

Jacqueline Joiner, said her sister's death had revived painful memories of when Ms Rand's other daughter, Charlotte Pitwell, died in a road accident in 2011, aged 19.

"It brought back memories of when Charlotte was killed so that made it worse because it's happened twice to our family now," she said.

"You don't think this sort of thing happens to a normal family."

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