September 23 2014 Latest news:
Freddy Mayhew, Reporter
Friday, March 21, 2014
A student who threw acid in the face of her childhood friend has today been sentenced to 12 years in prison.
Mary Konye, 21, showed no emotion as her fate was decided and was led away from the dock stony-faced.
Konye was found guilty earlier this year of throwing sulphuric acid in the face of Victoria’s Secret shop assistant Naomi Oni, 22, in Lodge Avenue, Dagenham, in the early hours of December 30, 2012.
Judge David Radford told Konye she had “ruined Naomi Oni’s life and ruined her trust in anyone who she believed to be a friend”.
He added: “This was no sudden loss of temper or overreaction to some kind of provocation.
“This was clearly premeditated against a person who reasonably believed you were her true friend.”
The attack left Naomi scarred for life and needing several bouts of surgery — even having her eyebrows tattooed on.
Speaking to reporters after leaving court, Naomi’s mother Marian Yalekhue said: “I’m happy about the sentencing. Naomi will be a bit satisfied although emotionally she’s damaged.”
Det Ch Insp Dave Whellams added he was “very pleased” the judge had recognised “the extent of the injuries and the trauma it [the attack] has caused the victim.
“Anyone who can harbour a grudge for the best part of two years over something as inconsequential as an argument over looks, and then go to the degree of planning that she has, is a very dangerous individual.”
Konye protested her innocence throughout the trial but was found guilty on January 23 by a jury of eight men and four women at Snaresbrook Crown Court, where she was today sentenced.
She had claimed in her defence that she and Naomi had planned to fake an attack together in a bid to win fame and fortune from media interest.
The court heard how she believed she was the victim of a conspiracy and watched as she broke down in tears, claiming Naomi had dropped her in it by denying her involvement in the alleged plan.
Naomi told jurors her former school friend had acted entirely under her own will and said Konye had previously made a verbal threat that she would throw acid on her.
CCTV footage seen in court showed business and finance student Konye stalking Naomi through Stratford Station in a black, full-length Muslim veil while the shop worker made her way home to Dagenham from her work in Westfield Stratford City.
Friends of Konye, who testified during the trial, said she told them she had got some acid from a “dodgy website”.
They also claimed Konye changed her profile picture on social messaging site Whats App to that of horror icon Freddie Krueger, with the message “she better not mess with me or I will make her face look like this” alongside it.
Naomi’s mother said her daughter did not eat for days after hearing Konye had been arrested and was the police’s chief suspect.