Acid death mother was unwittingly caught up in dispute, court told

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A mother unwittingly caught up in a dispute between two other people died after being splashed head to toe with acid as she sat on a bench, a court has heard.

Joanne Rand had been to visit her daughter’s grave and was about to have a cigarette when she was hit with the high-strength sulphuric acid last June.

She screamed in pain and ran to a nearby KFC to splash water over herself after the the incident on a Saturday afternoon in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, Reading Crown Court heard.

She was treated and briefly released from hospital after suffering up to 5% burns on her body.

Ms Rand died on June 14, 11 days after the incident, from multi-organ failure after being struck down with septicaemia due to the acid burns, the court heard.

Xeneral Webster, 19, denies her murder.

Ms Hunter said CCTV footage showed Webster reaching into his satchel for a bottle of acid.

She said: “What he produced next is an open-topped bottle of acid and he makes to throw it towards Mr Hussain. And he said to Mr Hussain, ‘This is acid’.

“At this moment Mr Hussain, panicking, knocks the acid out of Mr Webster’s hand.”

The bottle rolled and hit Ms Rand, who was sitting a few metres away, Ms Hunter said.

She “instantly noticed that her hair was wet and that her face had begun to burn”, the prosecutor added.

Webster was captured on footage putting on a balaclava before cycling back to the bench where Ms Rand had been sitting, to pick up the acid bottle, the court heard.

He later discarded the bottle and the bike before getting the train home to London, the jury was told.

Ms Hunter said: “That Joanne Rand was not Mr Webster’s intended victim on June 3 2017 makes no difference in law to his culpability for her death, because it arises in these circumstances where he was intending to unlawfully kill or at least cause GBH to another.”

She said Webster knew the consequences of having acid in a public place, having been the victim of an acid attack himself.

The defendant admitted being involved in an altercation, saying it occurred because he had been sold spice instead of cannabis, the court heard.

But he denied possessing the bottle of acid, they jury was told.

Webster, of Banstead Court, Westway, west London, denies six charges dated between April and June last year.

He faces a murder charge and an alternative count of manslaughter, possession of a bottle of acid, possession of a bottle of ammonia, attempted GBH with intent and robbery of a bicycle.

The trial, which is expected to last three weeks, was adjourned until Thursday.

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