'I could see liquid flying and then it started eating my face': Arthur Collins' acid attack victims relive horror
Traumatised victims of Arthur Collinsâ cowardly dancefloor acid attack have revealed the full horror of their ordeal.
Phoebe Georgiou â" among the crowd of innocent clubbers left with life-long scars by the then-boyfriend of ex-Towie star Ferne McCann â" said at first she thought terrorists had struck.
The 23-year-old added: âI felt liquid drench my entire chest and arm and it burnt through my chest. I looked down and it started eating my skin.â
She said that after acid landed on her she looked up and âsaw it flying in the air â" it was a thick liquid, it was steamingâ.
Phoebe added: âI should be living my life. Last year I was going on party holidays but this year Iâve been glued to my mum.
âIâm still going through the mental wounds of it. Iâve been left with a life sentence of scars.â
Collins, 25, has been found guilty of five counts of causing grievous bodily harm with intent, and nine counts of causing actual bodily harm.
Judge Noel Lucas QC warned him he will get âa very substantialâ prison sentence.
Collins threw the acid three times after a row, hitting his main target in the face and splattering anyone close by.
Some victims needed skin grafts and two feared for their eyesight.
Hours before the attack on Easter Monday, Collins and Iâm a Celebrity... star Ferne, 2 7, had announced to her family she was pregnant. Their daughter was born last month.
Acid victim Phoebe, from North London, was left with severe chest burns. Recalling the attack, she said the fumes were âtoxicâ, adding: âI couldnât breathe, I was choking... I looked down and my top was sizzling through to my skin.â
Lauren Trent was at the Mangle club in Hackney, East London, celebrating her 22nd birthday when Collins launched his attack.
She and her friends were sat at the side of the dancefloor at the time. They were about to leave as Lauren heard a âfizzing sound, like a can of Coke being openedâ as she bent down for her bag.
The liquid hit her a second later and her skin began to âblister, bubble and peelâ.
She said: âI remember the smell and the steam coming off the floor. My neck was stinging so I touched it and my skin came off in my hand.
âLooking around, skin was hanging off other peopleâs faces, thatâs when I was sure it was acid.â
The attack has left Lauren, originally from Bournemouth, Dorset, wary of going out. She said. âAt first I didnât think it had affected me but for the first couple of weeks, I didnât leave the house.
âNow if we go out I have to be high up so I can see everything thatâs going on in the club. Iâm a lot more anxious... Iâm always checking over my shoulder.
âIf someone spills a drink or something Iâm scared of what it is. It flashes back to that moment. Just because others canât see the scars as much doesnât mean there are not there. We have to look at those burns every day.â
Lauren, who works in recruitment, added: âI really wish I could ask [Collins] what he would do if someone threw acid at someone he k new â" his family or his friends â" in a nightclub.
âIâm pretty sure he would want them to go to jail for life. He would want someone to pay the price for it... What could you say to someone who has thrown acid at you? There are no words. I donât class them as a human being...
âI want the sentence not just for me but for all the other girls having heard what they had to go through, how some of them are so depressed they canât get out of bed in the morning.â
Speaking out after the attack, while Collins was still on the run, Sophie Hall said: âThere was panic and shouting and I just started crying because my face felt as if it was on fire.â
âThe acid had run down my cheeks and burnt into my skin. I was hysterical.â
Detective Chief Supt Simon Laurence, borough commander for Hackney, said: âThe use of the acid came from n owhere. He [Collins] knew it was there, and knew it was readily available to use.
âIt was a barbaric and cowardly attack. I donât understand how a human being could do that to others.â
Police could not prove what Collins threw but said it had a PH level of one, making it similar to hydrochloric acid used in the strongest of drain cleaners.
Collins went on the run after the Easter Monday attack. He was found living in a house that was being renovated 60 miles away from his home in Broxbourne, Herts.
He jumped from a bathroom window in just a T-shirt and his pants when police caught up with him, forcing them to Taser him twice.
Collins refused to answer any questions and only put forward a defence after finding out he had been caught on the clubâs crystal clear CCTV.
Wood Green crown court in North London heard he sent his sister the text: âTell mu m to mind that little hand wash in my car - acid.â
But Collins told jurors he was in fact he was referring to an amino acid Shampoo, adding: âMum was taking my nieces out in my car. I didnât want them picking it up.â
Having studied the footage for months in his prison cell on remand, he put forward a story in which he tried to play the hero, saying he had taken the liquid from one of his victims thinking it was date-rape drug.
As he told his tale from the witness stand, one of his jurors openly laughed at him.
Lily Saw, from the Crown Prosecution Service, said: âOur prosecution proved this acid attack was no accident.
âArthur Collins went to a nightclub with a container which he knew contained strong acid, and was willing to use it.â
Collins co-accused, Andre Phoenix, 21, of Tottenham, north London, was cleared of any involvement in th e attack.
Within a week of his arrest over the Easter attack, it was revealed Ferne was pregnant with his child.
The TV presenter, 27, gave birth to Sunday McCann as the trial neared its end, sharing a picture of her little daughter on social media after she arrived a week early.
She has so far refused to talk about Collins other than to say she will raise their daughter with the help of mum, Gill.
Ferne told OK! magazine last month: âThey say what doesnât kill you makes you stronger and it really is true. I feel like Iâve developed a new armour this year.
âI donât dwell on how different it could have been.â
Collins will be sentenced next month at Wood Green Crown Court, in north London.Source: Google News