Stranger attack: Acid burned all three layers of Hackney Homes’ gardener’s skin

The scars on the side of Derrick Mahoney's face
Caption: Photo National News and Pictures/ Adam Davi

The scars on the side of Derrick Mahoney's face Caption: Photo National News and Pictures/ Adam Davies - Credit: National News and Pictures / Adam Davies

A gardener told a court he was in agony after being doused with highly corrosive acid which burned through all three layers of his skin, as he mowed a lawn for Hackney Homes.

Derek Mahoney, 53, said the industrial drain cleaner, made up of 90 per cent sulphuric acid, “felt like scalding hot water” as it burned through his clothing.

He was left screaming in pain.

Jacquline Pocket, 54, is accused of throwing the highly concentrated drain cleaner over him as he was cutting the grass outside a block of flats on the Keir Hardie Estate in Springfield Road, Upper Clapton.

He suffered severe burns to his head, face, neck and arms and remained in Broomfield Hospital specialist burns unit in Chelmsford for several months.

In a statement read to Inner London Crown Court, Mr Mahoney said: “I must have looked at the woman for a matter of seconds. She was a couple of metres away.

“I had never seen her before and didn’t know who she was. She was holding something in her hands.”

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Steven Attridge, prosecuting, told the court: “One witness heard the screams and as he approached him he could see red marks on his face and holes appearing in his clothes.

“A member of the public poured his milkshake on him and others tried to throw water on him to wash his skin.

“A police officer saw Mr Mahoney was on the floor and he appeared to be in shock as he was shaking.”

When questioned, Pocket allegedly told the police officer: “I didn’t do anything, I’m not well. They get on my nerves.

“They think they can do what they like,” adding she was in remission from cancer.

The court heard the officer asked her what had been thrown so the victim could be treated, and she told him it was drain cleaner and pointed to where she had thrown the bottle.

The bottle was found in a blue bag near a bush.

Mr Attridge said: “It is the Crown’s case she knew what she was doing as she was doing it.”

Pocket, of the Keir Hardie Estate, denies applying corrosive fluid with intent to burn, maim, disfigure, disable or cause grievous bodily harm.

The trial continues.