Man 'free to take mother's life due to police officer blunder'

Xeneral Webster, 19, doused Joanne Rand, 47, from head to with a corrosive substance.
A killer was free to take a mother’s life after a police officer allegedly failed to pass on information about a previous acid attack, it emerged yesterday.

Xeneral Webster, 19, doused Joanne Rand, 47, from head to with a corrosive substance.

The mum-of-three, who worked as a carer, died in June 2017 of multi-organ failure after contracting septicaemia due to acid burns.

The police watchdog is investigating after it emerged that a Met Police officer had been investigating another acid attack on a woman, allegedly by Webster, three months earlier.

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The officer obtained CCTV footage of the incident in North London in March 2017, but allegedly did not circulate it for 20 months, until November 2018.

Police identified the suspect as Webster, who was already in prison for 17 years for Ms Rand’s manslaughter.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct is now investigating the officer involved in a gross misconduct case, for alleged breaches of professional standards.

The IOPC’s Jonathan Green, said: “This investigation raises the very serious question about the way a Met Police officer may have handled a crucial piece of evidence which may have identified the suspect of an acid attack.”

Ms Rand was attacked while sitting on a bench in High Wycombe, Bucks. A court heard Webster travelled to the area with sulphuric acid, which was knocked from his grasp by another man during a scuffle over a bicycle, covering Ms Rand in the substance.

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Webster, of Westway, West London, admitted manslaughter at his murder trial at Reading crown court. Ms Rand’s daughter, Katie Pitwell, 18, said afterwards: “With gang and drug crimes becoming so widespread, it is proven now that people do die from acid attacks.

“This will never bring my mum back. I have to live with the fact that she’ll never be at my wedding or see my progress through life.”

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