Sunday 25 August 2019

Sentencing of teenage boy who slashed throat of woman he met online delayed as psychiatric report not available

Stephanie Ng read out a harrowing victim impact statement
Stephanie Ng read out a harrowing victim impact statement
Andrew Phelan

Andrew Phelan

A 16-year-old boy who attempted to murder a woman he met online by slashing her throat has had his sentencing delayed after a court heard a psychiatric report on him was not available.

Sentencing of the accused at the Central Criminal Court had been deferred for production of the report but Mr Justice Michael White granted a two-week adjournment after hearing there were problems having it prepared.

The accused has pleaded guilty to attempting to murder Stephanie Ng at Queen’s Road, Dun Laoghaire on 23 December, 2017.

The boy, who was 15 years old at the time of the attack, had met the then 25-year-old woman through a social media app when he took her to the seafront and knifed her, cutting into her windpipe.

A sentence hearing took place in March and the case had been adjourned for a report by a consultant forensic psychiatrist.

Today, Prosecutor Paul Burns SC said following previous efforts made in Ireland, the chief prosecuting solicitor's office had made efforts both in Britain and Northern Ireland to get a suitably qualified medical practitioner to prepare a report, without any success.

One of the problems was an inability to access clinical notes, Mr Burns said. Asking for an adjournment, he said he had "one final enquiry" to make which "may or may not bear fruit."

"I cannot let it go on unduly," the judge said.

Mr Burns said it was a court ordered report and the prosecution was doing its best.

Mr Justice White said if the reports could not be made available he was going to proceed to sentencing without them.

He said the court appreciated the efforts being made by the prosecution.

Defence barrister Patrick Gageby SC consented to the adjournment, to May 24.

The boy, dressed in a navy sweater, white shirt and blue jeans, sat with his parents at the side of the courtroom. Mr Gageby said the accused wished to be present on the next day and an order was made for his production from custody for that hearing.

The judge also said a report from the governor of Oberstown juvenile detention centre had been submitted and would be made available to the prosecution and the defence.

At the pre-sentence hearing last month, the court heard when the accused and victim made contact through the Whisper app, the boy pretended he was 19.

When they met, she declined suggestions they go to derelict buildings and they went to the water’s edge where he suggested they take a selfie.

The accused grabbed Ms Ng and started choking her while brandishing a knife.

Her hand was lacerated as she tried to catch a hold of the knife and in a “calm and controlled voice,” he told her to stop screaming.

Ms Ng passed out and after she came around, passers-by came to her assistance.

She had a slash wound across her neck that cut into the trachea and stab injuries on her arm and thumb.

In a victim impact statement, Ms Ng said her life had been "destroyed" by the attack and she would struggle to ever forgive the boy for his "demonic" actions.

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