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Man, 19, given 20 year extended sentence for manslaughter following acid attack in Frogmoor, High Wycombe

| July 31, 2018

Frogmoor, High Wycombe. (Archive picture)

A man has been given a 20 year extended sentence following an incident 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 taking place. Xeneral Imiuru Webster, aged 19 and of no fixed abode, 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 restaurant to call for assistance. Joanne was taken to Stoke Mandeville Hospital for treatment for her burns and was subsequently discharged. She was readmitted to hospital on Friday 9th June 2018 where she died on Wednesday 14th June 2017.

Police launched an investigation in to the circumstances surrounding the death of Joanne Rand. On Monday 12th June 2017 Webster was arrested and on Thursday 26th October 2017 Webster was charged with 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 he damaged a Mercedes vehicle in London.

At the hearing 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

He received concurrent sentences for these further offences. However he was acquitted of one count of robbery and one count of attempting to cause grievous bodily harm.

On Wednesday 18th April 2018, during his trial at Reading Crown Court, he pleaded guilty to manslaughter however he was acquitted of one count of murder. It is the first manslaughter conviction as a result of an acid attack in the UK.

At a hearing held at Reading Crown Court Xeneral Webster received a 17 year custodial sentence plus a three year licence period.

Senior investigating officer Detective Chief Inspector Nick Glister, of Buckinghamshire Force CID, said: ‘An attack of this nature – in which acid is used as a weapon – is always likely to lead to life-changing injuries. In this case, tragically, it led to Joanne’s death.

Joanne did not know her attacker Xeneral Webster. She had been sitting on a bench in High Wycombe town centre on 3 July 2017, after visiting the grave of her daughter, who had previously died in a collision.

On that day, during an argument, Webster retrieved acid from his bag and used it to threaten another man who then knocked it and kicked it away. The acid covered Joanne, burning her.

She developed sepsis as a result of her injuries and her family had just moments to say goodbye. She died in hospital on 14 June last year.

Webster himself had been subjected to an acid attack and received injuries to his face just months before he too made the decision to carry acid during this horrific incident.

Joanne was a much loved mother, sister, partner, friend and colleague and is deeply missed by all those who knew and loved her. The attack was painful and caused untold suffering to her family.

I would like to pay tribute to Joanne’s relatives for the dignity and support they’ve shown throughout the investigation and for so eloquently speaking out against those who carry acid. They don’t want anyone else to go through what they’ve been through and neither do we.

While attacks of this nature are not common in the Thames Valley, this is little comfort to Joanne’s family. No sentence will ever go any way towards easing their pain, but I hope they feel it goes some way towards enabling them to have a sense of closure on these utterly tragic events.

Below is a You Tube video, available on the Thames Valley Police You Tube page, which shows a fly-through of the crime scene including CCTV images showing the acid attack taking place and persons leaving the scene on a bicycle wearing a balaclava with the bottle that contained the acid.

The following is a You Tube video, available on the Thames Valley Police You Tube page, featuring the family and friends of Joanne Rand talking about the events that lead to her tragic death :

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