Woman to serve at least 14 years of life sentence for murder

Sat, Mar 24, 2012, 00:00

A DOWN woman has been told she will have to serve at least 14 years of her life sentence for murder. Lindsay White (23) joins Adrian Cunningham (20) in jail for the murder of homeless Polish man Marek Mateusz Muszynski (40), who was left to die, semi-naked and robbed of his last 70p, early on July 7th, 2009.

It was Cunningham’s evidence that last month convinced a jury to unanimously convict White, Mary Street, Newry, of Mr Muszynski’s murder by jumping on him “like a trampoline”.

Having partially stripped their victim and robbing him of what little he had, they left him to die in the isolated alleyway while they went off to buy drink and a Chinese takeaway.

At Newry Crown Court yesterday, Judge David McFarland told White that while she had shown little remorse and limited regret for the death of their unfortunate victim, it would be unjust to punish her for Cunningham’s larger role in the killing.

While White branded Cunningham, Lisgullion Park, Newry, “as a monster”, he was given a reduced tariff sentence of 11 years in January for pleading guilty and giving evidence for the prosecution.

Judge McFarland told White, who sat flanked by two prison warders, that although the plan of attack was conceived and was begun by a punch from her, “it was Cunningham who was the main perpetrator”.

“It was a horrific attack on a drunk and largely defenceless man,” said the judge, who also described it as “a brutal attack”.

“White joined in and at one stage stood on the victim’s throat, bearing her not inconsiderable full weight down on his neck.

“One’s feelings of revulsion have been exacerbated by the knowledge that Marek Muszynski lay there for about half an hour before he finally died, with no medical assistance being requested, even on an anonymous basis, by either Cunningham or White.

“Both seemed more concerned about buying more alcohol and then a takeaway meal.”

Poland’s honorary consul to Northern Ireland, Jerome Mullan, in welcoming that “an appropriate sentence has been handed down”, said Mr Muszynski’s family would be greatly relieved at the close of the stressful case.

Judge McFarland said that since White’s return to Newry in the months before the murder, she “seems to have drifted into a peer group who would spend their time aimlessly . . . abusing alcohol and drugs”. However, in mitigation, he said White was only 21 at the time and of low average intelligence.

“The attack was largely spontaneous in nature. It was White’s idea . . . the main perpetrator was Cunningham and he would have landed the vast majority of the blows and kicks.”

The judge said he was also taking into account the fact that White was now pregnant, would give birth in prison and would eventually be separated from her child. However, Judge McFarland said while White’s culpability placed her “in the same higher starting point” in sentencing as Cunningham, he had also taken “into account her subsidiary role in the assault”.