[WATCH] London acid attack: Arthur Collins jailed for 20 years

Collins was convicted of five counts of wounding and nine counts of assault, when he sprayed acid in a packed London night club in April

Arthur Collins (Photo: the Daily Mirror)
Arthur Collins (Photo: the Daily Mirror)

 

A man convicted of spraying acid in a London night club and injuring 22 people was sentenced to 20 years in prison, according to the Metropolitan police.

25-year-old Arthur Collins was convicted in November, of five counts of wounding, with intent to do grievous bodily harm and nine counts of assault, occasioning actual bodily harm.

Sixteen individuals suffered serious burns as a result of the incident, which police claimed resulted from a dance floor argument at the Mangle nightclub in the London borough of Hackney in April of this year.

“Collins 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 post to a large number of people,” said Hackney Borough commander, detective chief superintendent, Simon Laurence.

“This was a barbaric and cowardly act.”

During the trial, Collins told the court he didn’t know the battle contained acid. He claimed he thought it was a liquid rape date drug, which he took from two men, after overhearing them planning to spike a drink, reported the Press Association.

Acid attacks, especially in London, have increased dramatically over recent years, police and lawmakers are now mulling ways to make weaponised acid, or “face melters” more difficult to obtain. Sales to minors have since been banned.

Collins reportedly squirted the bottle in the face of the man he was arguing with, the court heard. He then sprayed it twice more, hitting a number of clubgoers, according to the report released by the Metropolitan police.

“Victims described seeing ‘steam’ rise above them and there being a chemical smell which made them choke,” it said. Injuries included chemical burns to some of the victims’ faces and bodies.

Incidents on the rise

In 2016, 454 acid attacks were reported across London, up from 261 the year before.

“Most of the products can be bought off the shelf – drain cleaner, oven cleaner – there are different types of sulfuric acid you can buy and ammonia,” said Laurence.

Police suggested that gang members may be switching to acid over knives or guns as the liquid is harder to detect.

“Acid throwing has been adopted by urban street gangs in a way that perhaps we haven’t seen for a very long time,” said Laurence.

The attacks can disfigure victims dramatically, leaving them with both physical and psychologically life-changing injuries.

“They know that acid can be very damaging and very destructive and they are in many ways seeking to mark their victim with an act of dominance or a mark of control, demonstrating their power and their ability to get to you at any time,” said Simon Harding, criminologist from Middlesex University in London.

“They call [acid] ‘torture in a bottle’ and they want to be able to take their rival out of the game,” added Harding. 

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