Monday 14 October 2019

'I thought I was taking my last breath' - victim who had throat slashed by boy (15)

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

Andrew Phelan

A 15-year-old boy slashed a woman's windpipe and left her to die in a "demonic" murder attempt on a beach, a court was told yesterday.

The teenager, who had posed as being 19 when he met his 25-year-old victim on a social media app, pounced on her and put her in a stranglehold under the pretence of taking a selfie.

As he choked Stephanie Ng with his right hand and brandished his knife in his left, he ordered her to stop screaming in a "calm and controlled" manner, the Central Criminal Court was told.

Yesterday, Ms Ng bravely confronted her attacker, who is now 16, as he pleaded guilty to attempting to murder her at the seafront in Dún Laoghaire on December 23, 2017.

Ms Ng wept as she delivered a harrowing victim impact statement to the court.

She described how she remembered during the attack the boy calmly whispering: "Stop screaming, stop screaming" as a tear rolled down her cheek and she took "what I thought was going to be my last breath as he choked the life out of me".

"When they told me your age my head spiralled in confusion trying to understand how someone your age can have such evil intentions," she said, addressing the accused directly.

"The scars you inflicted on my neck and hand will forever be a reminder of your demonic actions. You tried a number of times that day to lure me to isolated locations in order to fulfil your urges.

"Your persistence down at the water's edge showed how determined you were to have me dead."

She suffered flashbacks, she said, and going to the seafront "triggered it all again, your rough arms around me trying to take my life".

"I am lucky to be alive and that I am grateful for," she said.

The judge, Mr Justice Michael White, said Ms Ng had shown "tremendous courage" in reading the statement out to the court.

He adjourned sentencing the boy after hearing a psychiatric report would be needed.

Detective Garda Daniel Treacy said when the accused and victim made contact through the Whisper app, the boy pretended to be 19.

He asked her to participate in a threesome and she declined, making it clear that she was not interested in any sexual contact with him.

He said he could not commit to girls, telling her: "It's like being a psychopath, you just don't feel it so it's pretty crazy feeling it for the first time."

When they arranged to meet, he indicated that "he would bring her to a secret spot" and she jokingly said it sounded like he was going to murder her.

He replied that he "did not think he could murder her".

The pair met at the entrance to Dún Laoghaire Shopping Centre that afternoon, and their movements were later tracked on CCTV.

After Ms Ng declined when he twice suggested they go to derelict houses, they walked to the seafront promenade, where she also refused to go into the disused baths.

At his suggestion, they went to the lower path near the water's edge to take a selfie.

Ms Ng was facing out to sea when she was grabbed from behind by the accused, who put her in a neck lock and started choking her with his right hand, while brandishing a knife in his left, Gda Treacy said. The victim raised a hand to protect herself and to try to catch hold of the knife.

She suffered "significant lacerations" and, in a "calm and controlled voice," her attacker told her to stop screaming.

Ms Ng passed out and when she came around, she was lying near the water's edge.

Her hand was bleeding and there was blood around her head.

Det Gda Treacy said there had been a "huge amount of pooling of congealed blood" at the scene which suggested Ms Ng had been there "a while". She made her way to the footpath, where she collapsed and passers-by came to her assistance.

They saw she was very pale, her lips had gone blue and she was unable to speak. One thought she was going to die.

Ms Ng was taken to St Vincent's Hospital, where she was put into a medically induced coma to be treated.

She had a 10cm-deep slash wound across her lower neck from one side to the other, that cut through the trachea and damaged her voice box.

She also had stab injuries on her upper right arm and the base of her right thumb.

In the thumb, the blood flow had been compromised and tendons were severed.

She had suffered significant blood loss and had aspirated blood into her lungs.

The next day, she showed gardaí her app messages and the accused was arrested at his home on Christmas Day.

He told arresting officers: "Is this about the stabbing of that girl? I haven't got the knife, I threw it in the ocean."

Gardaí seized a book of drawings that included an entry from November 2017 which appeared to show someone being cut up with a knife.

Another entry had a reference stating: "Serial killer might also be self-deprecator, self-praiser."

Blood found on the teenager's Leinster rugby backpack was a match for the victim's.

The boy, wearing a navy jumper, white open-necked shirt and blue jeans, was in court with his parents who sat alongside him in the dock.

His mother hugged and kissed him before and after the hearing.

Irish Independent

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