A Bangladeshi man and his accomplice were sentenced to different jail times by a UK court, after admitting to an acid attack that left their victims with life-altering injuries in east London.
Kaha Miah, 24, had admitted to two counts of applying a corrosive fluid with intent and was jailed for nine years. His 16-year-old accomplice, who cannot be named since he is a minor, was sentenced to six years in a Youth Offenders’ Institution after a trial at Snarebrook Crown Court in London this week.
"The sentence received reinforces the police view that any incident of this nature, or any possession of these type of substances will be investigated thoroughly. I would urge anyone carrying or considering carrying a noxious substance to reflect upon the sentence received," said Metropolitan Police Detective Sergeant Richard Lewsley, the investigating officer in the case.
"These substances can be, and unfortunately are, used in the commission of crimes which have a huge and lasting impact on victims," he added.
The court heard that on March 20, the two victims, Musa Miah and Syed Bashar, also of Bangladeshi origin, were watching over their vehicles from the eleventh floor of a building in east London. When they saw a group of youths jumping and kicking the cars outside, including their own, Musa Miah went to confront the miscreants. Fearful for his friend's safety, Bashar also rushed down to join his friend.
The two men confronted the youths, where a very brief conversation took place between the two victims and them. During this time, the 16-year-old took a bottle out of his bag, unscrewed the top and passed it to Kaha Miah. The 24-year-old unscrewed the bottle further and threw the contents into the faces of the two victims.
Bashar suffered burns to his face and shoulder. Since the acid was very strong, it melted the jacket he was wearing. Musa Miah was hit in the eye causing him to lose 20% of his vision, as well as leaving severe facial burns.
The victims immediately fled the scene and were found by patrolling police officers who administered first aid and called for medical assistance.
The London Ambulance Service took the victims to an east London hospital before transferring them to Moorfield Eye Hospital.
The Met Police said that the victims sustain life-changing injuries as a result of significant scarring, who also continue to suffer psychological distress in the aftermath. They both had to wear plastic face mask for months while their skin grafting continues to heal.
Nicholas Coates, who argued on behalf of the state's Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), said: "Both defendants knew that the bottle contained sulphuric acid and the extreme damage it would cause if it was thrown. The victims have been scarred for life with serious physical and psychological injuries.
"When people use acid as a weapon, the CPS will work with the police to present a strong case in court, to make sure offenders face the consequences of their crime."
UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd had recently announced a review of sentencing guidelines and measures to criminalise selling acid to under 18-year-olds. Prosecutors have been told to bring even tougher charges, carrying a maximum of life sentence, against those who throw acid following concerns that such incidents had registered a spike in recent months.
Assaults involving acid and corrosive substances have more than doubled in England since 2012, with the number of acid attacks in London showing the most dramatic rise in recent years. The Met Police's figures show there were 261 acid attacks in 2015, rising to 458 last year.