Man's 'double jeopardy' trial ends with guilty verdict

Footballer convicted of killing ex-girlfriend after acquittal seven years ago

A violent footballer who beat his ex-girlfriend to death yesterday became the first person acquitted of a crime to be jailed for it under new "double jeopardy" laws. The former Maidstone United player Mario Celaire, 31, must serve a minimum of eight years after pleading guilty to the manslaughter of Cassandra McDermott.

He was given a concurrent life term, to serve at least 23 years, for the attempted murder of Kara Hoyte, another former girlfriend, in a hammer attack six years after he was cleared in 2002 over the death of Ms McDermott, 19. Celaire beat her unconscious and left her to choke on an undigested Chinese takeaway. The verdict was quashed on appeal.

The "remarkable" courage of Ms Hoyte, who was left brain-damaged after Celaire attacked her, helped bring him to justice for both crimes, the Old Bailey was told. She gave an account to police and family using "writing, drawing and gestures" despite appalling injuries that left her paralysed and severely mentally disabled.

There was loud applause and a shout of "Rot in hell" in court as Celaire, a convicted rapist with a history of violence against women, was jailed. Judge Paul Worsley told Celaire, of Sydenham, south-east London: "You present a very real and continuing danger to young women with whom you enter into a close relationship."

The judge said Celaire had waited until the very last minute to plead guilty to see if the evidence of his severely disabled victim would stand up to scrutiny. Ms Hoyte was on the verge of tears during the sentencing as she held hands with her mother Eunice Lander, who comforted her as the harrowing details of the case were read out.

The judge said a presentence report about Celaire revealed his "desire to remain in control" of any relationships. A psychiatrist had said he had "significant egotistical and narcissistic elements to his personality" and had made "lengthy and persistent attempts to avoid responsibility for offences of the utmost seriousness", he added. Ms Hoyte, like Celaire's previous victim, was 19 when he attacked her in February 2007, and had also recently dumped him for another man after their abusive relationship. Like Ms McDermott, she was just 15 when her affair with him began.

After the attack by Celaire she was found lying in her bedroom in Walthamstow, east London, covered in blood. She had suffered such severe injuries that parts of her brain were exposed.

The court heard Celaire "callously" visited her in hospital days after the attack, thinking she would never be able to tell her story. Her mother was with her and encouraged him to hold her hand but she pushed him away and put her hand over her face. Later, she identified him as her attacker when her mother wrote a series of names on a board and she pointed and banged at the word "Mario".

The Criminal Justice Act 2003 clarified the previous prohibition on trying someone for the same crime a second time if they had been acquitted at the first trial. The MacPherson Report (after the murder of Stephen Lawrence) proposed that double jeopardy should be abolished when "fresh and viable" evidence came to light. The 2003 Act requires all cases to be approved by the Director of Public Prosecutions, and the Court Of Appeal must agree to quash the original acquittal.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Attenborough with the primates
tvWhy BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Sport
The RBS Six Nations trophy at the Aviva Stadium ahead of Ireland vs England
rugby
News
Campbell: ‘Sometimes you have to be economical with the truth’
newsFormer spin doctor says MPs should study tactics of leading sports figures like José Mourinho
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West found himself at the centre of a critical storm over the weekend after he apparently claimed to be “the next Mandela” during a radio interview
music
Sport
Wes Brown is sent-off
football
Voices
Lance Corporal Joshua Leakey VC
voicesBeware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Life and Style
Alexander McQueen's AW 2009/10 collection during Paris Fashion Week
fashionMeet the collaborators who helped create the late designer’s notorious spectacles
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?