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PPS consider appealing three year jail term for pensioner killer

Maggie Henderson-McCarroll was jailed for three years for the fatal stabbing of Eddie Girvan

THE Public Prosecution Service (PPS) has said it is considering referring the case of a heroin addict, jailed for three years for stabbing a pensioner to death, back to the Court of Appeal on the grounds that it was "unduly lenient".

Prosecutors said yesterday that they are to examine whether there is a legal basis to appeal the length of sentence handed down to Margaret Henderson-McCarroll who killed pensioner Eddie Girvan in his Greenisland home in Co Antrim.

The 31-year-old mother of two was sentenced to six years - with three to be spent behind bars - for the manslaughter of the retired plumber.

With time already served on remand she is due for release in January 2019.

Henderson-McCarroll, with a previous address at Verner Street, Belfast, admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

The 67-year-old was found gagged and tied to a chair with two stab wounds to his chest in January 2016.

Henderson-McCarroll claimed she was high on a cocktail of heroin and crystal meth at the time of the attack and insisted she acted in self-defence during a row about money.

During an earlier court hearing a defence QC told the court that at the time of Mr Girvan's death, Henderson-McCarroll's life had "descended in a heroin hell" following the cot death of her baby daughter.

She had 100 previous criminal convictions which included offences of robbery, theft and assault.

During sentencing on Monday Justice Treacy said he agreed with two consultant forensic psychologists that she did not meet the dangerous provisions criteria and that she did not pose a "significant risk of serious harm to the public in the future''.

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

Alliance Party MLA Stuart Dickson, who knew the victim, had questioned the sentence saying it did not appear to "match the crime committed".

UUP East Antrim MLA, Roy Beggs last night said he was also concerned by the sentence and had written to the Director of the Public Prosecution Service asking for it to be referred to the Court of Appeal.

The Public Prosecution Service said yesterday it was considering "if there is a basis to refer the sentence handed down in this case to the Court of Appeal on the grounds that it may be unduly lenient."

The PPS has 28 days within which to refer the sentence to the Court of Appeal.

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