Shock at three years jail for '˜brutal' killing

Shock has been expressed at the lenient sentence given to a woman with 100 previous convictions responsibile for the horrific death of a Co Antrim pensioner.

Tuesday, 15th August 2017, 8:15 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th September 2017, 12:10 pm
Margaret Henderson-McCarroll had a plea of diminished responsibility accepted for the manslaughter of Eddie Girvan

Margaret Henderson-McCarroll, 31, was sentenced to six years – three of which will be served in prison – after she pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of 67-year-old Eddie Girvan who was stabbed, gagged and bound at his Greenisland home in January 2016.

The prosecution accepted her guilty plea to the manslaughter on the grounds of “diminished responsibilty” with the defence arguing that at the time of the killing she was high on drugs.

Roy Beggs, MLA for East Antrim, said he was shocked at the short sentence handed down after such a brutal death.

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He said: “It strikes me as being a lenient sentence and I will be reviewing to see what action I can take to encourage a reassessment of the sentence. An appeal would most definitely be welcomed.

“Given her large number of previous convictions and the horrendous way in which Eddie died I don’t feel a sufficient sentence has been awarded.”

When asked to justify the sentence made yesterday by Mr Justice Treacy, the Office of the Lord Chief Justice responded: “In calculating the appropriate sentence for the offence, the judge will have considered a range of factors which depend on the specific circumstances of each case.

“These include the seriousness of the offence, the offender’s previous convictions, aggravating and mitigating factors, whether the offender pleaded guilty and at what stage in the process, the relevant law including the maximum sentence which the court can impose and any sentencing guidelines relevant to the offence committed.”

The PPS confirmed it “may consider if there is a basis to refer the sentence to the Court of Appeal on the grounds that it may be unduly lenient”.