Editor’s comment: Jailing Arthur Collins could deter others

Arthur Collins. Picture: MET POLICE

Arthur Collins. Picture: MET POLICE - Credit: Archant

A lot of attention will be focused on the Old Bailey when Arthur Collins is sentenced on December 19.

And I don’t mean because of his status as a pseudo-celebrity, or the fact his famous ex-girlfriend’s name has been used in so many reports before his is even stated.

We’ve heard from community figures like Gwenton Sloley, from police, and now from a victim herself how the example set by a long jail sentence could play a vital role in deterring others from carrying corrosive substances. And this horrific attack, which left two people blind in one eye and injured more than a dozen other people, certainly deserves a strong sentence. Collins has proven himself to be a clear danger to the public, whether because he is malicious, stupid, or very possibly both.

Beating acid attacks requires everyone to work together. Eight shops have signed up to the council’s voluntary scheme to stop the sale of corrosive substances to kids, and the town hall will be out on a push tomorrow to get more. Venues must take responsibility for searching clubgoers and identifying safe ways to spot and seize acid, and Mangle E8 is to be commended for taking measures to boost security in the wake of what happened there in April. The courts must set an example to deter young people from carrying these substances. The media has a responsibility to report these – and to publicise the effect an attack lasting seconds can have on the lives not just of the victims and their families but of the perpetrator and theirs.

But families and friends also have a duty to intervene if they suspect someone they love is carrying this devastating weapon. I am sure Arthur Collins’ sister is haunted by the knowledge that he had told her, somewhat obliquely, what he had in that little bottle, and that she didn’t act.