Acid victim’s daughter, 18, calls for tougher sentences
Tragic loss: Joanne Rand with daughter Katie, 18, and showing her acid burns in the days before she died PICS: PA
A TEENAGER responsible for Britain’s first acid killing was jailed for 17 years yesterday.
Xeneral Webster (below) threatened a man with a bottle of strong sulphuric acid during a row over a bike.
When the man kicked it away in a panic, it splashed over Joanne Rand, covering her head to toe as she sat on a bench after visiting her daughter’s grave.
The mother-of-three ran to a KFC to wash but died 11 days later after contracting septicaemia from her burns and suffering multiple organ failure.
Prosecutors said it did not matter that Webster had not kicked the bottle or targeted Ms Rand because it was his reckless actions in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, that led to her death. He knew the risks because he was the victim of an acid attack two months earlier and is scarred for life.
Judge Angela Morris told him: ‘You and your actions bear the responsibility for Ms Rand’s tragic demise.
Deadly risk: The killer cycles away with bottle of acid after it spilled over victim
‘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.’
Ms Rand’s death at 47 was the second tragedy to hit the family after her daughter Charlotte Pitwell was killed in a car crash aged 19 in 2011.
Her other daughter Katie Pitwell, 18, called yesterday for possession of acid to be punished more severely.
She said after the hearing: ‘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.
CCTV: The victim moments before she was hit by the acid
‘People need to know if they’re carrying that type of stuff it’s going to hurt someone or kill someone.’
Webster, 19, was initially charged with murder over Ms Rand’s death. But his trial was stopped in April after he admitted to the lesser charge of manslaughter.
His lawyers said he had written the victim’s family a letter to say he was ‘very sorry’ and had meant no harm.
But Ms Rand’s sister Jacqueline Joiner, who spoke at the hearing, turned to him and asked: ‘Do you feel any remorse for what you did? You certainly seem to have no regard for anyone, and need to be held accountable.’
After he was sentenced at Reading crown court, Webster screamed abuse at judge Morris, forcing security staff to drag him from the dock. Another of Ms Rand’s sisters, Lynn Ryan, described watching her deteriorate after being burned in June last year.
She said: ‘The day before Jo died, I will never forget the look in her eyes when she asked me, “am I going to die?”. I said no, but I didn’t know. She was so scared and afraid.’
Ms Joiner, 61, added: ‘We’ve kind of been sleepwalking through our lives for the past year, not thinking of it as real. It’s like a nightmare and you just can’t get your head round it.’
Webster, from west London, was also convicted of waving a samurai sword to threaten a woman a few days before Ms Rand was burned.