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    SYDENHAM: 'Double jeopardy' killer pleads guilty to manslaughter

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    Join date : 2009-04-18
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    SYDENHAM: ''Double jeopardy'' killer pleads guilty to manslaughter

    Post  Staff on Sat May 23, 2009 2:27 am

    A MAN originally cleared of killing his ex-girlfriend has become the first person convicted under double jeopardy law.

    Mario Celaire, of Sydenham Road, Sydenham, pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Cassandra McDermott yesterday.

    The 31-year-old had been found not guilty in February 2002 of her murder.

    New evidence against him emerged after he admitted his guilt to another ex-girlfriend he also subjected to a vicious attack.

    His conviction is the first following a change in legislation enabling a person to be prosecuted again for serious offences such as murder.

    Miss McDermott, 19, was killed by Celaire in Norbury in October 2001 after an argument over her damaging a car he lent her.

    She choked on the contents of her stomach as she lay unconscious after he punched her in the face.

    Celaire’s conviction, six years and six months after he was initially found not guilty of the killing, began when he tried to murder ex-girlfriend Kara Hoyte in 2007.

    Miss Hoyte - who was smashed three times on the left side of her head with a hammer by Celaire - recovered from her injuries and told officers she had challenged Celaire about what happened to Miss McDermott.

    "Compellable" evidence

    He initially told her Miss McDermott had died after being sick from eating a Chinese meal, but he finally admitted he punched her in the face.

    A police spokesman said the confession gave detectives “new and compellable” evidence.

    Detective Chief Inspector Nick Scola, from the Met’s Homicide and Serious Crime Command, said: "Cassandra's mother Jennifer was in court to finally hear Mario Celaire acknowledge his part in her daughter's death, seven-and-a-half years after he struck the fatal blows.

    "It is testament to her courage and determination in fighting for justice for Cassie that this day was reached.

    "I would also like to pay tribute to Kara Hoyte whose bravery and determination to give evidence against Celaire, despite receiving near fatal head injuries, was astonishing.”

    Yesterday, Mario Celaire pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Miss McDermott and the attempted murder of Miss Hoyte.

    He will be sentenced on July 3 at the Old Bailey.

      Current date/time is Tue Aug 22, 2017 8:14 pm