Canning Town man who threw acid in the faces of two cousins in Beckton is jailed for 16 years
- Credit: Archant
An acid attacker who left cousins with permanent physical and mental scars has been sentenced to 16 years in prison.
John Tomlin, of Colman Road, Canning Town, launched a sustained attack on Jameel Muhktar and Resham Khan in Tollgate Road on June 21 last year.
Mr Muhktar was visiting the home of his ex-partner, where she lived with their children and her new partner, also named John.
Miss Khan, who was celebrating her 21st birthday, had come with her cousin.
Tomlin, who happened to be passing, launched the attack after hearing his name mentioned in a commotion in the street when Mr Muhktar was trying to gain access to his children, who he had not seen for a long time.
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Tomlin squirted acid through the window on the passenger side of the vehicle, severely burning Miss Khan.
Mr Muhktar then tried to drive away, crashing into lampposts as he went.
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Tomlin chased the car down the high street, emptying the bottle of sulphuric acid through the driver’s window.
Both victims broke down in court as they read their statements.
Miss Khan said before the attack she had been “extremely confident, happy and my self esteem was high”.
However the attack has had a lasting impact on the aspiring model.
“My 21st birthday turned into a day when my face was taken away from me,” she said.
She now struggles to maintain relationships and has lost her self esteem, the court heard.
Mr Muhktar, who takes morphine daily to cope with the pain caused by his injuries, said he had tried to take his life eight times.
Hehas experienced severe depression following the attack.
“I’m not getting better, I’m getting worse. If I was dead I would not have to go through this pain,” he told a doctor.
Tomlin, dressed in a blue tracksuit with a large white crucifix hanging around his neck, looked unmoved throughout the court proceedings.
The 25-year-old, who was a regular user of cannabis, had previously pleaded guilty to two counts of intending to cause grievous bodily harm at Snaresbrook Crown Court.
He suffered from a psychological condition which meant he could be predisposed to random acts of violence, but because he had opted to not take medication prescribed to treat his condition Judge Sheelagh Canavan ruled there were no mitigating circumstances.
Detective Sergeant Dion Brown, from Newham CID, said: “This was a vicious attack, which has left two victims with substantial injuries that will stay with them for life. Both victims still require treatment for the burns they suffered that day and my thoughts are with them as they continue their recovery.
“Although the bottle Tomlin used to carry the substance was never found, testing on some of the liquid recovered from the crime scene showed it was a strong acid, equivalent to hydrochloric acid.
“I am glad Tomlin accepted his responsibility for the attack and spared his victims having to relive that terrible ordeal at court. Acid attacks can inflict terrible, disfiguring injuries and cause excruciating pain. Those who cause such injuries can expect severe consequences when they are brought to justice.
“That is why the sentence today reflects the extreme seriousness of this crime.”
Helen Taylor, from the Crown Prosecution Service, added: “This was an appalling attack that left the victims with physical and psychological scars. The weight of evidence against John Tomlin left him with little choice but to admit his crime.
“The sentence imposed today will serve to protect the public and I want to thank the victims for helping the prosecution to secure this outcome.
“This case serves as a warning of the harm acid can cause and that those who use it as a weapon can face significant prison sentences.”