Teen slasher must wait an extra 2 years before sentence gets reviewed
A teenager who tried to murder a woman he met on a dating app will serve a further two years’ detention before his 11-year sentence is reviewed, following an appeal by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
The Court of Appeal yesterday increased the teenager’s sentence review date to seven years, after finding that the original five-year term was too lenient.
President of the Court of Appeal Mr Justice George Birmingham delivered judgment, saying that a review of the sentence took place at too early a stage.
Outlining the court’s decision, Mr Justice Birmingham said that increasing the sentence beyond 11 years would not be appropriate having regard to the significant mitigating factors in the case.
The now 17-year-old, who cannot be named because he is a minor, was originally sentenced by Mr Justice Michael White at the Central Criminal Court to 11 years’ detention with a review to commence after five years on January 1, 2023.
The attempted murderer has been in custody since December 26, 2017, after he lured Stephanie Ng to an isolated area at the Sea Front, Queen’s Road, Dun Laoghaire.
After pleading guilty to her attempted murder, the teenager received his sentence in November last year.
The DPP successfully sought a review of the teenager’s sentence on the grounds that it was “unduly lenient”, arguing that a review of the 11-year sentence after a five-year period was too early.
The Court of Appeal found that the element of planning and premeditation meant that, “even as attempted murders go”, the offence had to be seen as being at the high end of the spectrum.
The boy’s father apologised on Tuesday to the victim Ms Ng before the three-judge panel and said: “There is no excuse for the terrible actions our son carried out that day.”
The man told the Court of Appeal that he regretted his son not being hospitalised or being given the correct medication at an earlier stage.
The father said the attack was not unpredictable and his son had previously attempted suicide “to avoid attacking people”.
The teenager met his 25-year-old victim on the Whisper social media app, where he had pretended to be 19.
The boy was just 15 years old when he tried to kill Ms Ng during their first face-to-face meeting on December 23, 2017, after suggesting they take a selfie by the water’s edge in Dun Laoghaire.
There, he grabbed her from behind and choked her to unconsciousness before slashing her neck with a knife.
His victim previously gave evidence in March 2019 of taking what she thought was her last breath, as the teenager tried to “choke the life” out of her before leaving her for dead.
Through tears, she told the Central Criminal Court that the boy had “destroyed” her life.
Mr Justice George Birmingham previously granted the boy’s wish to have a physical hearing yesterday as opposed to the remote hearings taking place as a result of Covid-19 restrictions.
The boy was accompanied to court by two members of staff from Oberstown Children Detention Campus and his two parents sat in the body of the courtroom.
Earlier this month, the Court of Appeal found that the sentence imposed on the teenager was too lenient.
Mr Justice Birmingham highlighted that the sentencing judge, Mr Justice White, had been exceptionally careful and conscientious when constructing the boy’s sentence.