UK Politics

‘Despicable’ teen jailed for moped acid attacks


A teenager has been jailed for 10-and-a-half years for attacking moped riders with acid to steal their vehicles.

Derryck John targeted six motorists in a spate of attacks in north and east London on the evening of 13 July 2017 – all in less than 90 minutes.

The 17-year-old sprayed his victims in the face with a noxious liquid, leaving one man with a 30% loss of sight in one eye.

Others described searing pain and burning at the time and have been forced to leave their jobs as a result of their injuries.

"Had they not been wearing helmets, all of the victims' injuries could have been much more serious," Ramesh Patel of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.

Image:The scene of the first attack, showing delivery riders gathering round. Pic: Sarah Cobbold

John stole two mopeds and tried to take another four from their owners before he was arrested hours after the attacks.

Sentencing John at Wood Green Crown Court, Judge Noel Lucas QC told him his actions were "despicable and cowardly" and had had a "life-changing" and "defining" impact on his victims.

He said: "You and your accomplice chose to attack members of the public who were going about their lawful business.

"These were grave crimes. You attacked members of the public with what appears to have been an acid at the strongest end of the scale of acids.

"You have not revealed the name of your accomplice or the precise nature of the corrosive fluid used or where you and your accomplice obtained it."

Delivery driver Jabed Hussain describes  the acid attack that happened as he waited at traffic lights in Hackney, east London.
Video:Acid felt like 'fire on my face'

The teenager from Thornton Heath, Croydon, pleaded guilty earlier this year to 12 offences.

He admitted six counts of throwing a corrosive substance with intent to disable, maim, disfigure or do grievous bodily harm.

He also pleaded guilty to four counts of attempted robbery of a moped and two counts of robbery of a moped.

Judge Lucas said there was an "overwhelming, huge public interest" in naming the teenager after he entered his pleas.

He also told John that had he been sentencing him as an adult and had he been convicted after a trial, he would have been jailed for 22 years.

How to tackle an acid burn
Video:What to do in an acid attack

During Monday's hearing, the judge also commented on the prevalence of acid attacks.

"I can state from my own knowledge of the offences arriving at this Crown Court that such offences have risen sharply in the last 12 months.

"This is the second major corrosive fluid case I have had to deal with in the past three months.

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"It is clear to me that the carrying and use of corrosive liquids is rapidly becoming a serious and growing problem in London and in particular, in this part of London.

"So too are crimes committed using scooters."

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