Tuesday 20 March 2018

Young mother-of-two jailed for three years for 'horrific' killing of pensioner

Margaret Henderson-McCarroll (31)
Margaret Henderson-McCarroll (31)

John Cassidy

A mother-of-two was jailed on Monday for three years for what a senior judge described as the "horrific'' killing of pensioner Eddie Girvan in Co Antrim last year.

Margaret Henderson-McCarroll (31), formerly of Verner Street, Belfast, had previously pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Mr Girvan at his Greenisland home on January 18, 2017.

Passing sentence at Belfast Crown Court, Mr Justice Treacy said the defendant would serve a further three years on licence as part of the determinant custodial sentence.

He said that he agreed with two consultant forensic psychologists that Henderson-McCarroll did not meet the dangerous provisions and that she did not pose a "significant risk of serious harm to the public in the future''.

The judge told the court: "This was an horrific crime and the deceased must have suffered terribly.''

The prosecution accepted her guilty plea to the manslaughter of the 67-year-old former plumber on the grounds of "diminished responsibility''.

A defence QC had told a plea and sentence hearing in June this year that at the time of the manslaughter her life had descended into a "heroin hell'' following the cot death of her infant daughter.

He told the judge that at the time of the killing, the defendant had an addiction to opiates and that she and another inmate at Hydebank Wood prison in south Belfast were currently in the process of mounting a judicial review against the Northern Ireland Prison Service to receive "appropriate care by way of opiate substitute therapy medication'' which was not currently available in the jail.

He said that in 2012, Henderson-McCarroll had been clean of drugs while pregnant and remained clean from drugs following the birth of her daughter Lily Rose.

However, Mr McCrudden said that six weeks after her birth, Lily Rose had died as a result of a cot death which he said had a "catastrophic'' effect on the life of Henderson-McCarroll.

"She thought that the birth of her daughter would be a fresh start for her but her life fell apart following the death of Lily Rose and she started to inject herion.

"Her life descended in a heroin hell, buying drugs from these drugs gangs operating in south Belfast who were well known to police.''

The defence QC added that Henderson-McCarroll "defended herself'' when Mr Girvan came at her with a stick sword during a row, saying the murder was not "pre-planned or pre-meditated''.

Belfast Telegraph

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