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Teenager pleads guilty to spate of acid attacks in north and east London

Police said Derryck John "did not think twice" about using the potentially life-changing substance

09 January, 2018 — By Samantha Booth

Derryck John

A TEENAGER who carried out a spate of acid attacks across London, including in Islington, has pleaded guilty.

Derryck John, 17, threw the corrosive substance at six different men across north London on July 13, 2017.

The detective on the case Detective Sergeant James Leek condemned the teenager’s actions, saying it “beggars belief” anyone would “be prepared to scar someone for life” for the sake of a phone or moped.

DS Leek said: “Derryck John did not think twice about using a life changing and even potentially life-threatening substance against those who resisted his robbery attempts. Acid attacks ruin lives and have no place in our society.

“We are working hard to keep the public safe and make the streets hostile territory for criminals who steal scooters and use them to snatch valuables from members of the public. We have a particular focus on the small number of criminals prepared to use corrosive substances to do so.”

John, from Croydon, pleaded guilty at Wood Green Crown Court to 12 charges – six counts of throwing a corrosive substance with intent, four count of attempted robbery of a moped and two counts of robbery of a moped.

The first attack on July 13 was at 9.30pm on Penny Brook Street at the junction with De Coubertin Street in Stratford. The victim became aware of another scooter on his left hand side and he saw the pillion passenger raise his arm and felt a splash on his face.

The victim accelerated away but was pursued by the suspects, and managed to lose them.

At 10.25pm, police were called to Hackney Road at the junction with Queensbridge Road in Haggerston to reports of a robbery.

A 31-year-old man suffered injuries to his face after two male moped riders threw the corrosive substance in his face and the moped he was riding. The two suspects made off from the scene, one on the stolen moped.

At 10.49pm, police were called to St Paul’s Road in Islington, near the border with Hackney.

A 44-year-old man riding a moped had a corrosive substance thrown in his face by two males also on a moped. They left the scene empty handed.

About 15 minutes later, a 52-year-old man had the substance thrown in his face by two males on a moped in Shoreditch High Street. The victim was also riding a moped but the suspects got away empty handed.

At 11.18pm police were called to Cazenove Road, near the junction with Upper Clapton Road. A 24-year-old man [victim5] was attacked in a similar way and nothing was stolen.

At 11.37pm a 33-year-old man reported to police that he was on his moped in Chatsworth Road in traffic when two males on another moped pulled up alongside him and sprayed a liquid in his face. They stole his moped and made off. The victim made his way to his home address before contacting police.

All of the victims were taken to hospital and two victims continue to receive treatment for their injuries.

The other victims’ injuries were not life-threatening or life-changing and they were all subsequently discharged.

John was arrested in the early hours of Friday, July 14 after a crash involving a suspected stolen moped linked him to the attacks.

He was further implicated following a comprehensive investigation involving several witness enquiries and CCTV.

He will be sentenced on March 9.

No further action has been taken against a 15-year-old boy, who was also arrested on Friday, July 14.


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