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Newham revealed as acid attack hotspot

PUBLISHED: 13:02 21 March 2017 | UPDATED: 16:30 22 March 2017

The scene of an acid attack at a train station. PIC BTP

The scene of an acid attack at a train station. PIC BTP

Archant

Almost a quarter of acid attacks in London took place in Newham, figures reveal.

Since 2010 there have been 415 attacks in Newham to date. This compares to Barking and Dagenham where 157 incidents were reported for the same period.

So far this year there have been four attacks in Newham where acid was thrown with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. Last year there were 149.

According to the Met police data, there have been more than 1,800 reports of attacks using corrosive fluids across the capital since 2010.

In 2014 Mary Konye, from Canning Town, was jailed for 12 years after throwing sulphuric acid into the face of her friend Naomi Oni in December 2012.

Speaking at the time, Miss Oni said: “I don’t go out very much. I’m at a point in my life where everybody’s busy. Everybody’s continuing with their normal daily activities. My life isn’t so normal at the moment.”

“I just feel isolated.”

In a further attack in Harold Road, Upton Park, a mother had acid poured over her head while picking her twins up from school with three men later receiving prison sentences totalling 44 years.

However, figures show that since 2014 74 per cent of investigations have been wound down either because of the difficulty of identifying the attackers or victims being unwilling to press charges.

It is also believed acid has become the weapon of choice for gangs because of the ease with which it can be bought and the lack of a trail left behind to help police pinpoint attackers.

Commenting on the figures, Antony Okereafor from Newham All Star Sports Academy, a charity visiting schools to encourage young people to turn their back on crime, said: “It’s disheartening. It’s the new wave of crime right now. We need to sit down and address the reasons behind this.”

The figures, obtained by BBC London through a Freedom of Information request to the Met, show harmful substances were used in murders, robberies and rapes.

In response to what the Met describe as “a growing trend”, a police spokesman said: “We are committed to using a full range of tactics to tackle knife crime and that approach fits equally where people are carrying a noxious substance as a weapon.

“Assaults involving corrosive liquids such as acids are horrific and the impact on victims is devastating,” he added.

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