The ex-boyfriend of reality TV star Ferne McCann has been found guilty of an acid attack in a packed nightclub.
Arthur Collins, the father of The Only Way Is Essex star’s newborn daughter, hurled the substance over a crowd at the Mangle E8 in Dalston, east London, on April 17.
Two of his victims were partially blinded following the attack. The 25-year-old denied five counts of grievous bodily harm and nine counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm during the trial, which took place at Wood Green Crown Court.
He admitted to throwing a substance, but claimed he thought it was a date rape drug that he threw after overhearing men discussing spiking a woman’s drink.
Jurors heard that the attack was planned by Collins and co-defendant Andre Phoenix who was found not guilty of all charges.
Collins is the father of Ferne McCann’s daughter Sunday, who was born in early November.
A decisive piece of evidence was a text Collins sent to his sister a week prior to the attack, which read: “Tell mum to mind that little hand wash in my car – acid.”
Collins told the court that he was referring to a hair-thickening shampoo which he kept hidden from Ferne McCann in an attempt to hide his hair loss.
He said had she found it, she would have asked why he needed it and he wouldn’t have been able to lie. George Carter-Stephenson QC, defending Collins, asked: “How good are you at misleading her? Can she tell when you are lying to her?”
“Yes she can,” Collins replied.
The jury was also shown CCTV footage depicting an argument involving Phoenix, before Collins then throws acid over his shoulder and hits one victim in the face. He then throws the substance twice more.
One victim of the attack was 21-year-old Sophie Hall, who told The Mirror: “It smelt like petrol and it hit me and was the most awful burning and stinging sensation. There was panic and shouting and I just started crying because my face felt as if it was on fire.
“My friends grabbed me and took me to the toilets and security gave us bottles of water to pour on our faces. Then I looked in the mirror and saw how disfigured my face was. The acid had run down my cheeks and burnt into my skin. I was hysterical.”
Lily Saw, London Crown Prosecution Services reviewing lawyer, said in a statement: “Our prosecution proved this acid attack was no accident. Arthur Collins went to a nightclub with a container which he knew contained strong acid, and was willing to use it.
“Acid can be as much of a weapon as a knife with equally damaging consequences, and many of the victims of this attack suffered very serious injuries. There is understandable concern about this issue, and these convictions show that those who choose to use acid as a weapon can expect to face very serious criminal charges.”
Collins is due to be sentenced on 19 December.
The British Journal Editors and Wire Services