LONDON: A British court Tuesday slapped a 25-year sentence on a man for an acid attack in a nightclub in London, where such crimes have spiralled and prompted government intervention.
Arthur Collins looked pale as he was sentenced over the April attack which left 22 people injured, 16 of whom suffered serious burns.
“This was a despicable act,” judge Noel Lucas told the 25-year-old convict.
“You knew precisely what strong acid would do to human skin,” Lucas said. “In my judgement it was deliberate and calculated and you were intent on causing really serious harm to your victims.”
Collins got 20 years behind bars for the crime, plus a five-year extension under supervision after the judge ruled he was so dangerous the public needed to be further protected.
Such a sentence is rare is Britain.
The British capital saw 454 acid attacks reported last year, up from 261 in 2015 and 166 the year before.
The government has announced plans to overhaul the way it tackles such crimes, including proposals to crack down on people carrying and buying acid.
The nightclub case was particularly high-profile due to Collins’ relationship with reality TV star Ferne McCann, who was pregnant with their child at the time of the attack.
Collins went on the run for several days after the incident and during the trial admitted throwing the bottle of liquid over revellers after an altercation with a group of men, although he claimed he did not know it contained acid.
Evidence presented included a text message Collins sent to his sister days before the attack reading — “mind that little hand wash in my car acid” — which he told the court referred to hair-thickening shampoo.
Following the sentence being announced on Tuesday, the court heard of Collins’ previous convictions, including assault.
In a separate incident, he had threatened a former partner’s mother with an acid attack and to have her raped, for which he received a caution after apologising.