Arthur Collins found guilty of nightclub acid attack in east London
UK news Arthur Collins found guilty of nightclub acid attack in east London
Ex-boyfriend of The Only Way is Essex star Ferne McCann hurled substance over crowd at Mangle E8 in Dalston in April
A man has been convicted of seriously injuring more than a dozen people after spraying acid on to a packed dancefloor in a crowded London nightclub.
Arthur Collins, an ex-boyfriend of The Only Way is Essex cast member Ferne McCann, was found guilty of f ive counts of grievous bodily harm and nine of actual bodily harm at Wood Green crown court on Monday.
More than 20 people were hurt in the attack at the Mangle E8 club in Dalston, east London, in April after Collins got into a fight with a group of men.
He admitted throwing the bottle of fluid over clubbers but said he had not known it was acid. He said he had thought the liquid was a date rape drug and he had snatched it from two men after overhearing them planning to spike a womanâs drink.
Collinsâ friend Andre Phoenix was found not guilty of four counts of grievous bodily harm and two counts of actual bodily harm in relation to the incident.
Sixteen people suffered serious burns, and police said that in the immediate aftermath of the incident there were fears that three victims could have sustained permanent damage to their vision. âFortunately, this proved not to be the case - although one of these victims did tell the court that he still suffe rs blurred vision in one of his eyes,â Scotland Yard said.
Det Ch Supt Simon Laurence, the Hackney borough commander, said: âCollins went to the nightclub that night with a bottle of a noxious substance with the intent to use it to inflict serious harm. He indiscriminately and recklessly sprayed the substance in a crowded place, knowing full well the danger this would pose to a large number of people. This was a barbaric and cowardly act.
Collins told the court he had been out celebrating the news of McCannâs pregnancy, which they had announced to her family the previous day.
CCTV showed him and Phoenix arriving at the club at about 9pm and getting into a confrontation about four hours later. At about 1am, people were seen holding their hands to their faces and running off the dancefloor after Collins doused them with a liquid.
The substance was later found to have a rating of pH1, indicating a strong acid. Victims describ ed a burning smell and their skin âblistering straight awayâ.
CCTV footage showed Collins â" in a T-shirt bearing the word âkillerâ â" stayed at the club for about another hour, appearing to laugh and joke.
The jury heard reference to a message Collins sent to his sister six days prior to the attack in which he warned: âMind that little hand wash in my car ACID.â Collins claimed in court that the message referred to a shampoo containing amino acid and coconut oil that he was worried about his nieces finding and biting it.
Phoenix was arrested on 21 April and Collins a few days later. Collins was Tasered as he was seized by armed police after trying to flee from an upstairs window of a house in Highham Ferrers, Northamptonshire.
He has a previous conviction for actual bodily harm in December 2015 after punching a man in the face in another nightclub attack.
Collins told the jury that at the time of the Mangle E8 incident he had been in a serious relationship with McCann for about a year and he had found out she was pregnant weeks earlier. âIt was the happiest I have ever felt. We were both really happy,â he said.
He said he had not handed himself in to police because he had feared McCann would be targeted by gang members if he did.
Collins was convicted on all counts on a majority verdict of 10 to two. He will be sentenced at the same court on 19 December.Topics
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