Boy, 17, who carried out six acid attacks in Stratford, Shoreditch, Hackney and Islington named as Derryck John
PUBLISHED: 08:22 09 January 2018 | UPDATED: 15:46 09 January 2018
A 17-year-old boy has today admitted carrying out six acid attacks against moped riders, including one in Newham, in a bid to steal their vehicles.
"Judge Noel Lucas"
A teenager has admitted carrying out six acid attacks in 90 minutes against moped riders including a victim in Stratford.
The 17-year-old, who can be named as Derryck John, went on the rampage near Stratford international Station, Shoreditch, Hackney and Islington on July 13.
He was just 16 when he carried out the attacks where he sprayed his victims in the face with a noxious liquid, leaving one with “life-changing injuries”.
He stole two mopeds and tried to take another four before being arrested at around 3am that night.
He had denied any wrongdoing but changed his plea today after fresh CCTV images were shown at Wood Green Crown Court of him riding a stolen moped at a Texaco petrol station in Hackney that night.
A jury was set to be sworn in but the judge invited John to change his plea before the trial.
Reporting restrictions on naming the boy were lifted by judge Noel Lucas, who said: “There’s an overwhelming public interest in knowing the identity of the defendant and his age.”
John, from Croydon, south London, pleaded guilty to six counts of throwing a corrosive liquid with intent to “disable, burn, maim, disfigure or cause grievous bodily harm”, two counts of robbery and four counts of attempted robbery.
More details about the six acid attacks
9.30pm: The first victim, age unknown, was attacked in Penny Brook Street at the junction with De Coubertin Street, Stratford.
10.25pm: A 32-year-old man was targeted in Hackney Road at junction with Queensbridge Road, Hackney, by two men. One of the men stole his moped.
10.49pm: A 44-year-old man was attacked in St Paul’s Road, Islington. His attackers fled the scene empty handed.
11.05pm: A 52-year-old man was targeted in Shoreditch High Street, Shoreditch. The men fled empty handed.
11.18pm: A 24-year-old man was attacked in Cazenove Road near junction with Upper Clapton Road, Stoke Newington. Nothing was stolen.
11.37pm: A 33-year-old man was attacked in Chatsworth Road, Homerton, and had his moped stolen.
As he did so, his mother ran out crying: “You’ll never come back to live,” and could be heard sobbing outside.
John will be sentenced on March 9.
Another person involved in the attacks is still at large.
In a statement, John said the acid was thrown to incapacitate the victims, and said he is frightened of the other man involved, who is much older than him. He also said he was terrified of the sentence he will receive.
Judge Lucas said: “I gather the Crown [CPS] doesn’t know who the rider of the attaching moped was or he would be sitting in the dock.
“As to the defendant saying he didn’t realise how much damage would be done by using acid, that begs why he was using it in the first place.”
He added: “Someone might believe squirting something like ammonia might incapacitate or disable someone not intending to get them in the eyes. But you aren’t squirting it to hurt the helmet are you? You’re squirting it to harm what lies behind the helmet. You’re squirting it to harm the central part of the face, a prominent feature of that is the eyes.”
The court was told police had taken photos of John at the station following his arrest that night. He was wearing distinctive Nike trainers and jeans.
The court was then shown CCTV footage at the Texaco garage the same night, where he could be seen wearing the same clothes as he rode pillion on a stolen moped.
“These are images the defendant won’t have seen before,” said prosecutor Benjamin Temple. “This is him, we say face on, having lifted a white crash helmet and speaking to the cashier in the Texaco garage pointing to the moped, stolen from one of the victims, on the forecourt.”
John’s finger prints were also found on a scooter that was stolen on June 25, which was used in the rampage.
After an adjournment in which he discussed the fresh evidence with John, his lawyer Amiot Vollenweilder asked the judge for an estimate of the length of sentence he could expect if he were to plead guilty.
He also asked the judge, who presided over the case of Arthur Collins last month, whether the circumstances of his client’s case were “wildly different”.
Judge Noel Lucas said he wouldn’t find it “an easy sentence to commute”.
One of his victims was 32-year-old food delivery rider Jabed Hussain who was attacked when he pulled up at the lights in Hackney Road after his evening shift on his way home to Brick Lane and had acid thrown at his face. It was only his helmet he says saved his sight.
Jabed later joined the Mayor of Tower Hamlets launching a ‘charter’ campaign to stop shopkeepers selling corrosives over the counter to teenagers.