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Arthur Collins trial: ‘My breathing stopped when acid was thrown at me in Mangle E8’ London Fields club-goer tells court

PUBLISHED: 14:25 12 October 2017

Arthur Collins is set to go on trial today. Picture: Met Police

Arthur Collins is set to go on trial today. Picture: Met Police

A club-goer has described the moment his breathing stopped when acid was hurled over him on a packed dance floor, injuring 16 people.

Mangle E8 is evacuated after the acid attack. Picture: Phie McKenzie/@PhieMcKenzie Mangle E8 is evacuated after the acid attack. Picture: Phie McKenzie/@PhieMcKenzie

Kwami Licorish was giving evidence at Wood Green Crown Court in the trial of Arthur Collins, 25, the ex-boyfriend of reality TV star Ferne McCann.

Collins and co-defendant Andre Phoenix, 21, were charged after clubbers were doused with corrosive fluid at the Mangle E8 nightclub in Warburton Road, London Fields on April 17.

Questioned about the night, Mr Licorish said: “I was on the dance floor with a few friends and I remember feeling a splash to my face, my eyes were burning, my face was burning.

“There was a very strong smell, an overpowering smell. It stopped my breathing.”

"I was on the dance floor with a few friends and I remember feeling a splash to my face, my eyes were burning, my face was burning. There was a very strong smell, an overpowering smell. It stopped my breathing."

Kwami Licorish

Prosecutor Luke Ponte asked: “When that happened, how did people react?”

Mr Licorish replied: “Everyone was screaming, shouting, running. Everybody.”

George Carter-Stephenson QC, defending Collins, asked Mr Licorish if he and his friends discussed spiking someone’s drink, which he denied.

Talking about an alleged argument in the club, Mr Carter-Stephenson asked: “Were you trying to get back a bottle which belonged to one of your group?”

Mr Licorish replied: “No. We weren’t having any arguments or problems.”

Collins, of Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, denies five counts of grievous bodily harm (GBH) with intent, and 11 counts of actual bodily harm against 16 people.

Phoenix, of Clyde Road, Tottenham, north London, denies the same offences.

Collins accepts throwing the fluid but says he did not know that acid was in the bottle.

Jurors have heard 16 people on the crowded dance floor were injured by the substance, which had a pH level of 1.

Mr Licorish has several previous convictions for violence, including carrying pepper spray and robbery, the court heard.

Mr Carter-Stephenson argued it went to show he had a “propensity for violence and dishonesty”.

Jurors were played CCTV from inside the club appearing to show Mr Licorish and his three friends talking face to face with Collins and Phoenix in a situation showing signs of “escalating into violence”.

Mr Carter-Stephenson said: “Were you asking for the bottle back and were you being told in no uncertain terms at that stage to f*** off, that he didn’t have the bottle?

“It was escalating into violence ... you’re not a stranger to violence are you?”

Mr Licorish repeatedly said he could not remember details of the night but dismissed the notion of trouble brewing, adding: “I would remember if it was intense.”

The video showed him putting his drink on the floor, which Mr Carter-Stephenson argued gave him “both hands free and available”.

A security guard also approached Mr Licorish just before the acid was thrown as he thought it was “going to kick off”, Mr Carter-Stephenson added.

He also suggested Mr Licorish and his friends parked close outside the venue so they could see guards searching revellers with a “very cursory pat-down”.

The trial continues.

Court reporting by Press Association

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