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Life of woman who killed Eddie Girvan descended into `heroin hell', court hears

Margaret Henderson

THE life of a woman who killed Eddie Girvan descended into a "heroin hell'' following the cot death of her infant daughter, a court has heard.

The remarks were made by defence QC John McCrudden during a sentencing hearing at Belfast Crown Court in the case of Margaret Henderson-McCarroll.

The 31-year-old, formerly of a hostel in Verner Street, Belfast, had pleaded guilty last month to Mr Girvan's manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

The mother-of-three admitted unlawfully killing the 67-year-old in his Station Road home in Greenisland in January 2016 by stabbing him in the chest with a cake knife while high on a cocktail of heroin and crystal meth drugs.

She further admitted eight other charges arising out of the killing including theft, attempted theft, aggravated vehicle taking causing damage, dangerous driving, driving when unfit through drink or drugs, driving without insurance, failing to stop and failing to report an accident.

At a hearing 10 days ago, prosecution counsel Charles McCreanor QC told Mr Justice Treacy that Mr Girvan and Henderson-McCarroll had known each other for years.

He told the judge that at the time of the killing, the defendant had an addiction to opiates. 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.

Mr Justice Treacy said that what he would not understand was "why did she not ring the police or ring the hospital? How do you explain that?''

Mr McCrudden said she "didn't really know how badly injured he was as there was not a lot of blood'' and added that she then "left the house in a blind panic''.

The judge said he was adjourning the case until Friday to allow a doctor to review her criminal record.

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