IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

Acid attacks: ‘You can save victim’s eyesight’

Nightclub and shop staff watch dramatic reconstruction showing importance of quick reaction

16 March, 2018 — By Samantha Booth

A firefighter hoses down an acid attack victim during the staged reconstruction

BUSINESSES have been warned that their reaction to an acid attack on their doorstep could be vital in preventing serious injuries.

The alert came during a staged attack in a nightclub in which ‘revellers’ wearing prosthetic burns acted out the excruciating pain of being covered with corrosive liquid while staff started pouring water on the fake wounds before emergency services arrived.

The demonstration came in the week teenager Derryck John was sentenced to ten-and-a-half years in prison for his rampage on a moped during which he threw acid at six men, including one in St Paul’s Road, Highbury.

Sergeant Neil Fraser, from Angel police, said: “Acid attacks are not a recurring theme in Islington compared to other parts of London.

An acid attack reconstruction at Islington Metalworks

“However, at the meetings I go to with business there is a huge concern of the effects that they have. This is about being prepared to deal with such an incident should it happen on your doorstep.”

The Project Diffuse reconstruction, at Islington Metalworks, was organised by the Met Police, London Fire Brigade, London Ambulance Service and business group Angel.London. It involved a staged random attack as about 150 business owners and staff looked on.

A dozen people were triaged – examined for injuries – before emergency services arrived. The demonstration show­ed how staff and security personnel can treat wounds and preserve a crime scene at clubs, shops or other venues.

Flushing the acid attack injury with a continual flow of water at first is key, said police, with first-aiders being wary not to injure themselves.

Derryck John: jailed for 10-and-a-half years

In December, Arthur Collins, 25, was jailed for 20 years for throwing acid across a packed nightclub in Dalston last year. “It can be done very covertly without even look­ing,” counter-terrorism officer Neil Parham said. “Just spray and move. Acid will drop a 6ft 5in fella as quick as a 5ft 2in fella.”

He told those present: “You guys are the difference between my son or daughter having eyesight or not. You are my first responders. [Emergency services] are a drive away and this injury is not going to wait.”

Last year, there was 464 acid attacks in London, representing 0.2 per cent of violent crime in the capital, according to Detective Superintendent Mike West.

Seven of those attacks were in Islington, including one in which John, 17, threw a corrosive substance in the face of a 44-year-old moped rider in July last year.

Two of the other six victims, attacked on the same night in Hackney, continue to receive treatment for their injuries.

Chief Superintendent Nicholas Davies, borough commander for Islington, said: “We had very few [attacks] that happened in clubs or in public but it’s something we are alive to.”

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