Man sentenced for Poundland manslaughter - Abingdon

06/06/2016

A man appeared at the Old Bailey today, Monday, 06 June 2016, and was sentenced under a Section 45A Mental Health order to a discretionary life sentence and is to be detained for a minimum of nine years for the manslaughter of a man in Abingdon last December.

Trevor Joyce, aged 37, of Franklyn Close, Abingdon, was sentenced today after pleading guilty on Thursday, 19 May 2016, at Oxford Crown Court, to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. He also pleaded guilty to two counts of making threats to kill, one count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm (ABH), and one count of threatening others with offensive weapons.

On 07 December 2015, Joyce entered the Poundland store in Bury Street, Abingdon and took a knife from the display in the shop. He then used this knife to stab Justin Skrebowski, aged 61, in the lower back. Justin subsequently died as a result of his injuries.

Tracey Johnson-Brown, District Crown Prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said: "This case involved the untimely death of 61-year-old Justin Skrebowski in Abingdon last December.

"At about 11.20am on 07 December 2015, Justin entered Poundland in Bury Street, Abingdon where he was randomly attacked by Joyce and stabbed in the lower back with a knife that Joyce had taken from the display in the shop. After the stabbing, Joyce walked through the town centre holding the weapon and making threats to members of the public.

"At Oxford Crown Court on Thursday, 19 May 2016, Trevor Joyce pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, two counts of making threats to kill, one count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and one count of threatening others with offensive weapons. Manslaughter by diminished responsibility is a partial defence to murder, which is only established if it is more likely than not that a defendant suffered from an abnormality of mind that substantially impaired their responsibility of their actions.

"When Joyce pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, we carefully and thoroughly reviewed all the evidence in this case, including the assessment of psychiatric reports. In light of all the evidence, we took the view that there was no longer a realistic prospect of conviction for murder. We fully discussed our decision to accept the plea with Justin's family.

"This case represents a tragedy for Justin's family and friends who have been devastated by his death. The witnesses were utterly unprepared for what they saw, some of them acted courageously in their efforts to save Justin's life and detain Joyce despite the obvious risks to themselves. I would like to pay tribute to Justin's family and friends and the witnesses for their wholehearted support of the investigation and prosecution. We hope that the conviction and today's sentence brings them at least a small sense that justice has been done. Our thoughts are very much with them all at this time."

Investigating officer, Detective Inspector Stuart Blaik from the Major Crime unit, said: "Today Trevor Joyce has been sentenced to life at the Old Bailey having pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Justin Skrebowski by diminished responsibility.

"Whilst this will never compensate for the loss of Justin, it will hopefully offer some comfort to Justin's widow Gulsen and the Skrebowski family. This was a random attack on Justin, an innocent member of the public in Abingdon town centre whilst he was shopping on his wife's birthday. This callous incident has had a profound effect on the family in so many ways.

"I would like to thank the family for their support throughout the investigation as well as the members of the public who provided witness statements and assisted police officers with the arrest of Joyce shortly after the incident; they have shown great courage in horrific circumstances.

"This investigation has involved police officers and police staff from across the Force; again I am grateful for all their efforts.

"On behalf of Thames Valley Police I would like to offer my condolences to Gulsen and the Skrebowski family, our thoughts remain with them at this incredibly difficult and sad time."