Acid Attackers Can Now Be Given Life Sentences, Even If They Don't Harm Victim
Acid attackers could face life sentences even if they do not harm their intended victim.
Thugs who only carry acid 'without an excuse' could also face up to four years in prison as prosecutors look to toughen up on the attacks, reports the Evening Standard.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) seeks to bring possession of acid to the same level as that of carrying an offensive weapon.
Alison Saunders, director of public prosecutions, said that the crackdown was to make sure that the courts had the 'widest possible sentencing power' to deal with attackers.
The CPS said the move was in relation to growing public concern about the increase in attacks which have life-changing consequences.
The announcement came as details were released of a burglar who had admitted inflicting 24 percent burns on a 69-year-old woman by spraying corrosive liquid on her after breaking into her Ilford home.
It was one of two break-ins committed by the man, with the other being a 90-year-old woman who was threatened. He will be sentenced next month at Wood Green Crown Court.
The move, it is hoped, will help to deter those who carry acid, instead of a knife or other weapon, in the belief they could escape criminal sanctions.
Saunders told the London Evening Standard: "The point is that if you can't just expect to carry acid around without an excuse. It counts as an offensive weapon just as much as a knife or screwdriver could be.
"We are very conscious of the impact of this crime and how there has been a recent spate of it so we are very keen to make sure that we do prosecute it and the court has the right sentencing powers.
"We are recognising that there's been an increase in this type of crime, we are recognising the serious nature of it, the impact it can have on individuals who suffer from having corrosive fluids or acid sprayed at them, which can be life-threatening."
She continued: "It's about making sure that we are prosecuting in a way that makes it clear there is a deterrent. It's not just about when you have sprayed, it's about having it with you because if you are carrying acid around we will look to prosecute you for carrying an offensive weapon."
Throwing acid may be bought in line with inflicting grievous bodily harm, and when serious injury is caused, a potential life term is brought.
Harsher punishments are likely to be seen in areas where there is widespread offence, and there is a culture of carrying weapons or violence.
Acid attacks are known to have a devastating effect on victims and their bodies. It severe cases it can cause skin and flesh to melt, sometimes exposing and dissolving bones below.
As well as psychological trauma, blindness and permanent scarring are also results of the attacks.
Official figures showed that there were more than 400 acid attacks in the six months leading up to April 2017 across England and Wales.
Source: London Evening Standard
Featured Image Credit: PA