London Fields Mangle E8 attack: Arthur Collins threatened ex’s mother with acid, court hears
- Credit: Archant
Arthur Collins once threatened his ex-girlfriend’s mother with an acid attack.
The revelation was made at his sentencing hearing for spraying acid around a packed dance floor at the Mangle E8 nightclub in Warburton Road, London Fields, on April 17.
Wood Green Crown Court heard Collins had received a caution for racially aggravated harassment for ringing the woman in the middle of the night and threatening her with an acid attack and to have her raped.
At the time the 25-year-old, of Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, apologised and said he had done it “out of frustration”.
He has six previous convictions including threatening words, possession of cocaine, drunk driving and assault.
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Collins, the father of reality TV star Ferne McCann’s baby daughter, was handed a six month sentence suspended for 12 months at Woolwich Crown Court for punching a man in a nightclub on December 28 2015, which he was still subject to when he carried out the attack at Mangle.
Two people were temporarily blinded and others were permanently disfigured after Collins hurled the substance which had a pH of 1.
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Three of his victims took to the witness stand to read their victim impact statements.
Phoebe Georgiou, 23, described lying in a hospital bed for weeks after the attack without being able to move for fear of rupturing her scars.
“You couldn’t find a shred of human decency to admit what you have done,” she said to him.
“I have been given a life sentence by you.”
Lauren Trent told him: “You don’t know what it feels like to have acid thrown at you. To feel your skin dissolving, melting, blistering and you can’t do anything to stop it.”
She added: “Imagine that was your own daughter on her 22nd birthday and you are stuck two hours away in your home town knowing there was nothing you could do but listen as she’s screaming that her skin’s coming off in her hands.”
Sophie Hall, 22, said she had fallen off the back of her chair backwards because of the pain from her face.
“I was in terrible pain,” she said. “I couldn’t see properly. I was crying. I was sat on the floor for what felt like an eternity.
“I am scarred for the rest of my life and I’m only 22 years of age and I was just having fun with my friends and my whole world has been turned upside down.”
The court heard Collins had a lease on a Mercedes jeep despite being subject to a driving ban and owing £7,000 on his credit cards.
He said he had no assets to pay compensation to his victims.
But Judge Noel Lucas QC asked how he had been able to afford two hair transplants at a Harley Street clinic, remarking: “I suspect it wasn’t paid for by the NHS.”
Collins admitted throwing the bottle of fluid over clubbers but said he did not know it was acid.
He said he thought the liquid was a date rape drug, which he had snatched from two men after overhearing them planning to spike a girl’s drink.
Twenty-two people reported injuries to the police when acid was thrown over the dance floor, which was packed with bank holiday revellers.
A total of 16 people suffered chemical burn injuries and three people were temporarily blinded - one of whom still suffers from blurred vision in one eye - although only 14 people were the subject of charges.
The jury at his trial were not told that police believed the incident was the result of a drug feud.
At a preliminary hearing at magistrates court, the prosecutor said: “It is the Crown’s contention that this bears the hallmarks of both drug-related activity and gang-related activity.”
Collins and his legal team have always denied any kind of gang-related activity, insisting that there was “not a shred of evidence” to support the theory.
In a letter to the court, Collins described the incident as “a stupid little mistake”.
Following the harrowing victim personal statements, George Carter-Stephenson QC produced sheaves of posts taken from the victims’ social media accounts, apparently proving their lives had returned to some kind of normality.
The judge was shown images of the girls in swimsuits on holiday and out in nightclubs.
Mr Carter-Stephenson said: “What I want you to do is simply appreciate that there has to be balance and to a certain extent they have returned to some normality following this.
“These victim personal statements give the impression that this has been all prevailing and has pervaded into every area of their lives and that’s simply not correct.”
He said he was not trying to undermine the victims, but added: “It’s important that the court doesn’t create an imbalance against Mr Collins.”
He added the fact the victims had healed to a certain extent was “more good fortune than down to Mr Collins, but having said so it is an important feature.”