Two women who assaulted a ‘vulnerable and vulnerable’ pensioner who died nine months after the violent incident in Derry were both sentenced today (Monday).
Daniel Guyler (75) was found on the street in the Waterside area of the city on the evening of 23 July 2018. He never regained consciousness and died on 1 May 2019 in Altnagelvin Hospital.
Rhona Mary Gracey (36), who has a long history of violence, was sentenced to nine years in prison, while co-accused Sharon Mary Faustina Harland (47) was sentenced to seven and a half years.
Both sentences were split evenly between prison and jail time – and because the women were deemed a significant risk to the public on probation, their sentences were increased by an extended sentence of three years.
Jailing the couple on manslaughter charges, Judge O’Hara said: “The attack in which Mr Guyler was killed was an attack on a frail elderly man who had been with the defendants for some time drank
“It was at least partially motivated by a robbery. The accused ran away, leaving him badly injured on the street. He stayed in the hospital for nine months before he died.
Although Harland, of Bridge Street, Derry, said she had no memory of what happened and Gracey, of Chobham Street, east Belfast, gave a limited account of events, both women admitted unlawfully killing the pensioner .
Belfast Crown Court heard Mr Guyler was lying in the street with a significant head wound and other injuries. There were no witnesses to the attack – but he was with Harland and Gracey that day and the women were seen throwing away his wallet, which was then missing £400.
The couple had money after the incident that they didn’t have before, and the victim’s blood was found on both the women’s shoes and Harland’s pants.
Mr. Judge O’Hara said that although it was impossible to determine how the injuries to Mr. Guyler, both women’s convictions reflect their involvement.
The judge also found that although Mr. Guyler was debilitated and had underlying health problems, his hospitalization after the attack was distressing to his cousin, who frequently visited his uncle and recalled that “snakes were coming out of his body just a month after that.” . .
He also said that after examining the defense statements and reports on both defendants, he distinguished between them in terms of the sentences imposed.
Gracey, who attended via video link to Hydebank, has 55 criminal records, including charges of assaulting a man with a hammer and stabbing a woman in tight trousers.
Judge O’Hara spoke of her “deeply unhappy” and “traumatic” childhood, identity issues and history of violence, but said she was now taking steps to address her issues while in custody.
Harland has spent the past 27 months at Knockbracken Healthcare Centre’s Shannon Clinic in Belfast, attending her remote sentencing at the facility.
The judge said she also had a traumatic childhood, running away from home when she was 11, and had deep-rooted alcohol and drug addictions that began in her teenage years.
He revealed that she has long suffered from serious mental health issues, has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and is likely to remain in Shannon’s care throughout her stay.
Detective Inspector Claire McGarvey of the police’s Major Investigation Team said: “This was a brutal, unprovoked attack on Daniel Guyler, an elderly man who was brutally beaten and had his wallet stolen. After attacking him, Gracey and Harland left him on the ground with serious injuries. They have now been made amenable for their heinous crimes.
“We would like to pay tribute to the local community in the city who provided information which helped our detectives with this investigation, our partners in criminal justice – the Crown Prosecution Service and Forensic Science of Northern Ireland – and our dedicated team of detectives who worked on it to bring Dies to bring two women to justice to ensure they are held accountable for the heinous crimes they committed.”
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Source: Bel Fast Live