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Man convicted of manslaughter following acid attack in Frogmoor, High Wycombe

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Frogmoor, High Wycombe. (Archive picture)

A man has been convicted of manslaughter following an acid attack in Frogmoor, High Wycombe.

On Saturday 3rd June 2017, at around 4.50pm, 47 year old Joanne Rand, was sitting on a bench in Frogmoor after visiting her daughter’s grave.

Nearby an altercation started to take place. During the altercation 19 year old Xeneral Imiuru Webster threatened another man with a bottle containing an acid who then knocked and kicked the bottle away from him.

Joanne Rand felt a liquid land on her and a sensation of burning, she ran in to a nearby KFC restaurant to call for assistance. Joanne was taken to Stoke Mandeville Hospital for treatment for her burns and was subsequently discharged. However she was readmitted to hospital on Friday 9th June 2017 where she died on Wednesday 14th June 2017.

An investigation in to her death was subsequently launched. Webster was arrested on Monday 12th June 2017 and was charged with murder on Thursday 26th October 2017.

On Wednesday 18th April 2018, during a trial at Reading Crown Court, Webster pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Joanne Rand, however he was acquitted of one count of murder.

On Wednesday 11th April 2018 Webster pleaded guilty to:

  • One count of having an offensive weapon. On Monday 12th June 2017 Webster had a Samurai sword with him in Tamerisk Square, London.
  • One count of making a threat to kill on Monday 12th June 2017 in which he made a threat to a woman stating he would kill two men.
  • One count of damaging property. On Monday 12th June 2017 he damaged a Mercedes vehicle in London.

On Wednesday 18th April 2018 Webster also pleaded guilty to:

  • Two further counts of having an offensive weapon. On Wednesday 19th April 2017 Webster had ammonia on him in Fulham Palace Road, London. On Saturday 3rd June 2017 in Frogmoor, High Wycombe he was also in possession of a bottle of acid.
  • One count of affray in connection with the incident in Frogmoor in High Wycombe.

Webster was acquitted of one count of robbery and one count of attempting to cause grievous bodily harm.

Senior investigating officer Detective Chief Inspector Nick Glister, of Force CID, said: ‘On Saturday 3 June, Joanne was sitting on a bench on a warm summer’s day in Frogmoor, a busy square in the centre of High Wycombe. 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 in to 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 attacks are horrific. Their consequences devastate lives. I hope this case is a pertinent reminder to anyone considering carrying this dangerous substance that doing so can have very serious consequences.

Adrian Foster, Chief Crown Prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said: ‘On 3 June 2017, despite himself being the victim of an acid attack to the face in Hammersmith, London on 19 April 2017, Xeneral Webster travelled from central London to High Wycombe, armed with a bottle of industrial strength corrosive sulphuric acid. This wasn’t the first time he had carried a dangerous product as on the day he was attacked, a bottle of ‘Max strength Ammonia’ was found in a pouch attached to the bicycle he dropped at the scene before running for help.

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. 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.

The consequences of this incident highlight the significant danger weapons, drugs, and violence have on lives. The CPS takes all such allegations extremely seriously and will continue to vigorously prosecute all such offenders.

Webster was remanded in custody to appear at Reading Crown Court for sentencing on Friday 15th June 2018.

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