Arthur Collins trial: Mangle E8 acid attack co-accused Andre Phoenix claims he was also burnt in London Fields club
PUBLISHED: 12:22 03 November 2017 | UPDATED: 13:00 03 November 2017
A man on trial for allegedly carrying out an acid attack with the ex-boyfriend of reality TV star Ferne McCann claims he was also burnt by the corrosive substance.
Andre Phoenix, 21, is accused of helping in the attack at the Mangle E8 nightclub in Warburton Road, London Fields, along with Arthur Collins, 25, on April 17.
Collins is the father of Ms McCann’s unborn child and the two men had been out celebrating the news of her pregnancy, Wood Green Crown Court heard.
More than a dozen people were injured in the incident after a row broke out between Collins and another group of men.
Collins admits throwing the substance - but insists he snatched the bottle out of another man’s hand and threw it, believing the man had planned to spike someone’s drink with it.
"When I was checking in (at the hospital) the lady asked me if I had been at the Mangle nightclub, and I said ‘yes’, then she told me there had been an acid attack"
Phoenix claimed on Wednesday he suffered acute stinging to his face after trying to hold Collins back and break up a potential fight.
The jury was shown footage of Phoenix scooping handfuls of ice out of the sinks behind the bar to apply to his face.
“One of the bar staff kept moving my hand, so I couldn’t get in to the ice bucket,” he said.
Despite his alleged pain, Phoenix stayed in the club until the lights came on at 2.30am, before making his way to a kebab shop then getting a taxi home.
He said he had no idea why his face was stinging and was unaware there had been an acid attack at the club until he attended the Whittington Hospital in Archway, north London, the following day.
“When I was checking in the lady asked me if I had been at the Mangle nightclub, and I said ‘yes’, then she told me there had been an acid attack,” he said.
Phoenix said his co-defendant Collins was as confused as he was about why his face was stinging.
CCTV footage showed the pair using the torch of a mobile phone to inspect Phoenix’s face as he poured bottles of water on himself.
“I came to the club with Arthur to celebrate that he was going to have a baby. I didn’t once see him with a bottle, I didn’t once talk to him about having a bottle,” he said.
He continued: “I would never ever roll with acid. Acid’s not my thing. It’s nothing to do with me.”
In his evidence, Phoenix told the court that he had only stepped in to separate Collins and another male when they started squaring up to one another.
“Something wasn’t right between them. There was an issue between both of them,” he said.
Phoenix, who is partially deaf and often relies on lip reading, said he was unable to make out what the argument was about.
“I was telling Arthur to calm down because of the way he was behaving,” he added.
He said Collins discharged the corrosive liquid over the crowd while he was trying to keep him and his rival apart.
He denied knowing his co-defendant had acid on him or even that anything was being thrown.
Phoenix, who is a semi-professional mixed martial arts fighter, said: “I would never throw acid. I wouldn’t need to throw acid. It’s not my thing.”
When asked what he would do if he got into a confrontation with another man, he replied: “Knock them out.”
Phoenix said that after rinsing his face off with water and ice he returned to the dance floor “because I was drunk”.
“I didn’t really think anything of it at that stage. I just went back to partying,” he said.
Phoenix said he only learned Collins was wanted by police when his name popped up on a SnapChat feed after his name was handed out to journalists.
He denied knowing Collins had acid on him in the club, or that he planned to throw it or urging him to throw it.
Collins, of Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, denies five counts of grievous bodily harm (GBH) with intent, and nine counts of actual bodily harm (ABH) against 14 people.
Phoenix, of Clyde Road, Tottenham, north London, denies four counts of GBH and two counts of ABH.
The trial is due to resume for prosecution and defence closing speeches on Monday morning.
Court reporting by Press Association