Acid Attacks Are On The Rise Across The UK

Warning: Graphic Content

Twenty people were injured last month when acid was thrown across London nightclub Mangle E8. Hundreds of people were evacuated from the venue and the injured were transported to hospital to be treated.

Arthur Collins has been charged with 15 offences for the attack, while his alleged accomplice Andre Phoenix has been charged with seven offences.

Professional footballer Jamie O'Hara shared a photo on Twitter of his cousin, who was one of those injured.

But this isn't an isolated incident. This is happening across England and it's on the rise.

The BBC reports there's been more than 1,800 attacks involving corrosive liquids since 2010; last year there were 454 incidents of acid attacks, compared with 261 in 2015.

According to the Mirror, Newham in London is believed to be the epicentre of attacks with three times more happening than in Barking & Dagenham, which came in second on the list.

Metropolitan Police believe the main substances being used in these attacks are battery acid, bleach, peroxide or an alkaline substance similar to drain cleaner.

It's feared these chemicals are preferred by gangs as their weapon of choice because it's legal to buy and carry in public and can leave a bigger physical and psychological scar on the victim than a knife or gun.

Credit: PA

Simon Harding, criminology lecturer at Middlesex University, has told LADbible: "It's nasty, it's brutal, it's vicious and it's really an ugly thing. An acid attack is forever, it leads to terrible isolation - it's the most dreadful thing you can do to somebody.

"If you go back 100 years to Victorian times, it was kind of popular then, but it seems to have come back."

Harding also says there is anecdotal evidence that the police crackdown on knives has caused individuals and gangs to become more creative with their weapon of choice.

Chris Bonney was attacked at his home in Weymouth in February last year. He heard a knock at his door, late on a Sunday night, and opened it to find two strangers. One of them asked: "Is your name Chris?" Extraordinarily, they both apologised before one of the men squired acid in his face.

He's told LADbible: "I watched my clothes and blood and everything just fall down through the plug hole [of the shower]. It was horrific. When the substance hits your skin, it dries, and it constantly burns you."


Chris's body after being attacked. Credit: Facebook/Chris Bonney

The part-time DJ was in hospital for three weeks which was absolute hell.

Chris said: "I was having dressings every day, I was scared of the dark, I cried myself to sleep most nights, because I just couldn't deal with it. I didn't leave my little hospital room for two and a half weeks I didn't even walk outside the room at all."

Chris has been receiving regular treatment for the scarring, and even though he's come a long way, he still has constant reminders of that Sunday night.

"The scars on my arms, I see those all day every day; sometimes I put a long sleeve shirt on just to cover the burns," said Chris.

"Looking in the mirror is a daunting thing. I didn't look in the mirror for two to three months, because I could see my arms and legs and I just didn't want to see my face."

Chris explained police still haven't been able to find the people who carried out the attack or any motivation behind it.

He was much like Wayne Ingold, who was attacked in 2014 in a case of mistaken identity.

Wayne was checking his mailbox in Essex when his face was splashed with a corrosive liquid.

Two people have been convicted, Aaron Isaac, who was 19 at the time, and Jake McCabe, who was just 16-years-old.

Isaac is serving five years in prison, while McCabe was sentenced to three years' detention. McCabe wrote his victim a letter apologising for causing him such pain.

Credit: PA

There have been nearly 50 acid attacks this year alone, with many of the victims suffering life-changing injuries.

It's an issue plaguing nations across the globe, including Colombia, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. In South-Asian countries, acid attacks are usually carried out because a woman rejects a man's sexual advances or as a form of punishment for women if her family can't pay a dowry to her husband or his family.

In the UK, there is no legislation that specifically prohibits acid violence and offenders will usually get charged with grievous bodily harm.

There are restrictions on the sale of the substances, but a study says they usually target sellers rather than users. It's incredibly easy to obtain sulphuric acid in the UK - a quick search on the internet and you can buy a bottle for as little as £5. You don't need a licence or show your identity when purchasing the product.

It's illegal to carry a knife or gun in public and you can't say that you were holding it for a mate or for your own protection. But it's not illegal to carry corrosive liquids.

Chris believes something needs to change to prevent these attacks from continuing.

He said: "There needs to be some form of measure of control of the sale of the substance, but how do you police that?

"Do you have to be 18 to buy it? Should it be a controlled substance? It's a very difficult thing to do.

"There needs to be education on it. We teach a lot of things in schools, would it be bad if we taught them that the misuse of these substances can do this to your skin?"

Featured Image Credit: Facebook/Chris Bonney

Stewart Perrie

Stewart Perrie is a Trending Journalist at LADbible. His first job was as a newsreader and journalist at the award winning Sydney radio station, Macquarie Radio. He was solely responsible for the content broadcast on multiple stations across Australia when the MH17, Germanwings and AirAsia disasters unfolded. Stewart has covered the conflict in Syria for LADbible, interviewing a doctor on the front line, and has contributed to the hugely successful UOKM8 campaign.

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