Acid attack on friend was over 'ugly' barb

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

A young woman from London has been warned she faces prison after being found guilty of throwing acid in a friend's face because she once called her ugly.

Mary Konye, 21, attacked Naomi Oni in December 2012 while disguised in a Muslim veil.

Ms Oni, who was 20 at the time of the attack, was on her way home from work at Victoria's Secret lingerie shop in Westfield Stratford, east London, when Konye, wearing a niqab, threw the corrosive liquid at her.

She was left with serious burns on her head, neck, arms, legs and body. She was scarred for life, and required skin graft surgery to cover the burns.

She was five minutes from her home in Dagenham.

The jury at London's Snaresbrook Crown Court heard that, following the attack, Konye pretended to give Ms Oni a shoulder to cry on.

The court heard that the day after the attack, Konye sent a mobile phone message to her friend, who was in hospital receiving treatment, saying "OMG, I can't believe it."

The victim burst into tears as she left the courtroom and was hugged by family and friends.

She said as they left court that they were "glad that a truthful verdict had been reached".

Dressed in black, Konye remained calm as the jury of eight men and four women returned their unanimous verdict.

She will be sentenced on March 7, and Judge David Radford said: "I should make clear that, in my judgment, this is a case that will, in all likelihood, need a substantial custodial sentence.

"It is inevitable, but it won't be dealt with until I have received those (pre-sentence) reports." Speaking outside court afterwards, Detective Chief Inspector Dave Whellams said it had been a "serious, horrible offence which required a degree of planning and calculation".

He told reporters that witnesses had testified in the court that the attack had been planned over the course of two years.

He said: "Mary Konye has had to purchase, at some point, some sulphuric acid.

"She has prepared for this over a number of months, even years, all resulting from a trivial, insignificant argument that everybody has in their everyday lives."

He commended Ms Oni as "a very brave woman and one I have great sympathy for."

Baljit Ubhey, Chief Crown Prosecutor in London, who described the attack as "extremely brutal," said: "Konye has now been brought to justice and must face the full consequences of her appalling actions.

"I would to like praise Naomi's courage and dignity in giving evidence during this trial."

- Independent

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