Man jailed for Newham ‘acid attack’

A man who inflicted horrific burns on two people after throwing a corrosive substance at them has been jailed at Snaresbrook Crown Court.

John Tomlin, 25 of Colman Road, E16, was sentenced on Friday, 20 April having previously pleaded guilty at the same court on 27 November 2017, to two offences of grievous bodily harm (GBH) with intent.

He was sentenced to 16 years’ imprisonment, to run concurrently, for each offence with an additional four year extended licence. The Judge ordered that he serve at minimum of two thirds of the sentence before release.

The court heard how on 21 June 2017, at 09:13hrs on Tollgate Road, E16, Tomlin had got into an argument with a 37-year-old man.

The argument had started on the pavement and when the man returned to his car, Tomlin approached and threw a corrosive substance at the man through the car’s open passenger window.

In the passenger seat of the car was a 21-year-old woman and the majority of the liquid hit her.

The woman began screaming and the man tried to drive away, but was blocked by parked vehicles.

As he tried pull out into the road, Tomlin, not content with the initial attack, ran around the car and threw more of the substance through the driver’s window onto the driver.

Tomlin ran alongside the car in an attempt to continue the attack and only stopped when the car outpaced him.

The driver was temporarily blinded by the liquid, but kept driving to flee Tomlin’s attack – eventually the car mounted a pavement and crashed a short distance away.

The substance, which was thrown from a bottle, was so strong that it melted the victims’ skin and clothes where it struck. A subsequent examination of the car revealed that the powerful corrosive had melted through the car’s seats and dashboard.

A member of the public coming upon the crash took both victims to an east London hospital in his car.

Both victims suffered extensive burns to their faces and bodies and have required plastic surgery; they are still being treated for their injuries.

An immediate investigation was launched by detectives from Newham Borough, and Tomlin was quickly indentified as a suspect.

A manhunt began to find him and on 9 July 2017, Tomlin handed himself into an east London police station and was arrested on suspicion of GBH with intent.

He later told officers that he had been living rough in Epping Forest to avoid arrest.

The next day Tomlin was charged with two counts of causing GBH with intent.

Detective Sergeant Dion Brown, from Newham CID, said: “This was a vicious attack, which has left two victims with substantial injuries that will stay with them for life. Both victims still require treatment for the burns they suffered that day and my thoughts are with them as they continue their recovery.

“Although the bottle Tomlin used to carry the substance was never found, testing on some of the liquid recovered from the crime scene showed it was a strong acid, equivalent to hydrochloric acid.

“I am glad Tomlin accepted his responsibility for the attack and spared his victims having to relive that terrible ordeal at court. Acid attacks can inflict terrible, disfiguring injuries and cause excruciating pain. Those who cause such injuries can expect severe consequences when they are brought to justice.

“That is why the sentence today reflects the extreme seriousness of this crime.”