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Teenager pleads guilty to spate of acid attacks in north and east London in July 2017

News   •   Jan 08, 2018 20:35 GMT

Derryck John

A teenager who attacked six males with a corrosive substance in Newham, Islington, Haringey and Hackney in July 2017 has pleaded guilty at Wood Green Crown Court today, Monday, 8 January.

17-year-old Derryck John, of Thornton Heath, pleaded guilty to 12 charges.

They were:

Six counts of throwing a corrosive substance with intent to disable, maim, disfigure or do grievous bodily harm

Four counts of attempted robbery of a moped

Two counts of robbery of a moped.

On Thursday, 13 July 2017 between approximately 21:30hrs and 23:41hrs, police were called to six separate incidents of robbery or attempted robbery of mopeds.

- At 21:30 hours on Thursday 13 July on Penny Brook Street at the junction with De Coubertin Street [victim1] became aware of another scooter on his left hand side, described as a Yamaha with two people riding.He saw the pillion passenger raise his arm and felt a splash on his face. The victim immediately accelerated away along Penny Brook Street, pursued by the suspects. The pursuit continued on Penny Brook Street, Leyton Road, Windmill Lane and Leytonstone Road. From here he managed to lose the suspect vehicle which continued onto Forest Lane.

-At 22:25hrs police were called by the London Ambulance Service to Hackney Road, junction with Queensbridge Road, E2 to reports of a robbery. A 32-year-old man [victim2] suffered injuries to his face after two male moped riders threw a corrosive substance in his face and stole the moped he was riding. The two suspects then made off from the scene, one on the stolen moped.

- At 22:49hrs police were called to St Paul's Road, N1 in Islington, near the border with Hackney. A 44-year-old man [victim3] riding a moped had a corrosive substance thrown in his face by two males also on a moped. The two suspects left the scene empty handed.

- At 23:05hrs police were called to Shoreditch High Street, E8. A 52-year-old man [victim4] had a corrosive substance thrown in his face by two males on a moped. The victim was also riding a moped but the suspects again got away empty handed.

- At 23:18hrs police were called to Cazenove Road, N16 near junction with Upper Clapton Road. A 24-year-old man [victim5] was attacked in a similar way and nothing was stolen.

- At 23:37hrs a 33-year-old man [victim6] reported to police that he was on his moped in Chatsworth Road, E5 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; [victim2] and [victim5] continue to receive treatment for their injuries. The other victims’ injuries were not life-threatening or life-changing and they were all subsequently discharged.

Derryck John was arrested in the early hours of Friday, 14 July after a road traffic collision 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 Friday, 9 March 2018.

DS James Leeks from Hackney CID 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.

“It beggars belief that anyone would be prepared to scar someone for life and leave them to live with life-changing injuries for the sake of a phone or a moped. 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.

“If someone is in fear of being attacked with acid, or knows someone who is going to use it, they need to report it to police or confidentially through Crimestoppers. Your information will be actioned and you will be fully supported.”

+ No further action has been taken against a 15-year-old male [B], who was also arrested on Friday, 14 July.