Mangle E8 acid attack trial: Arthur Collins 'seen on nightclub CCTV throwing acid three times', court hears
PUBLISHED: 14:05 10 October 2017
The ex-boyfriend of reality TV star Ferne McCann, wearing a T-shirt with the word "killer" across the front, threw acid in a London Fields club full Bank Holiday partygoers, a court has heard.
Arthur Collins, 25 – the father of The Only Way Is Essex star McCann’s unborn child – and co-defendant Andre Phoenix were charged after clubbers were doused with a corrosive substance at Mangle E8 in Warburton Road on April 17.
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, denies the same offences.
Prosecutor Luke Ponte told Wood Green Crown Court the incident started with an altercation between a group of men, with some pushing and shoving.
He added: “It is not clear exactly how this trouble started.
“But it is very clear how it ended – suddenly and decisively, and not at all in keeping with what had gone before.
“One of the young men, perhaps perceiving the threat of a knife, threw a bottle or a container of acid into the face of another young man.
“As that man went down in pain, the aggressor threw acid a second time directed towards another man, and then threw acid a third time.”
Jurors heard that 16 people on the crowded dancefloor at the popular nightclub were injured in the attack.
Mr Ponte said: “There is no question as to who threw the acid.
“It was Arthur Collins. He does not dispute that he threw the acid and it is perhaps not surprising that he does not dispute it as the confrontation, the first throw, the second throwing and the third throwing are all captured quickly but clearly on the club’s CCTV.
“He was assisted, and we’ll come to how in a moment, by his good friend Andre Phoenix.
“The Crown’s case is that these two friends came to the club together, armed with acid together, they stayed together, got drunk together, got in a fight together, threw it together, stayed around together and finally left together.”
Jurors were shown CCTV of Collins and Phoenix arriving at the club at about 9pm before getting into a confrontation with a group of men around four hours later.
At about 1am Collins is seen throwing a liquid towards one of the men on the dancefloor.
The court heard that a number of people were injured in the incident, with varying degrees of severity.
This included Phoenix, who was splashed with the unidentified substance that had a pH level of 1.
Jurors were told that, after the incident, Collins asked victim Tamara-Jane Castle to “take a picture of my mate’s face”.
Mr Ponte said: “Why did Mr Collins want a photograph? Mr Phoenix can be seen in that photo with markings from where the acid splashed him.
“It might be useful to Mr Collins to have a photo of his friend looking like he was a victim, rather than an attacker. This was before he had seen the CCTV.”
Collins and Phoenix were soon identified from the footage, in which Collins could be seen wearing a t-shirt with the word “killer” on it.
Phoenix was arrested on April 21 but Collins was not apprehended until a few days later because initially he “could not be found”.
Collins was arrested at an unfurnished property in Northamptonshire, with officers shouting “police” and forcing entry.
The court was told Collins jumped out of the first floor window in his t-shirt and underwear to try to get away, before being Tasered by officers.
Jurors also heard that Collins sent a text message to his his sister one week before the attack, saying: “Tell mum to mind that little hand wash in my car acid”.
The trial continues.
Court reporting by Press Association