Derryck John: East London acid attacker jailed for over 10 years

Derryck John seen in a mugshot on the left, and in the petrol station the night of his attacks

Derryck John seen in a mugshot on the left, and in the petrol station the night of his attacks

Monday, March 12, 2018

A 17-year-old man from south London has been jailed for over 10 years for carrying out a spate of acid attacks against moped riders in a bid to steal their vehicles.

Derreck John, 17, targeted six riders in north and east London in less than 90 minutes on July 13 last year.

John, from Croydon, south London, sprayed his victims in the face with a noxious liquid from an Evian bottle, which police said left one with "life-changing injuries".

The attacker, who previously couldn't be named because of his age, stole two mopeds and tried to take another four from their owners, in a spate of attacks which began at around 10.30 when he attacked 32-year-old Jabed Hussain in Hackney.

John proceeded to commit a second attack just 20 minutes later in Islington, and went on to commit further assaults in the neighbouring areas of Stoke Newington and Clapton. 

The court heard that John used acid ranging in potency between one and two on the PH scale - meaning it was the strongest product available. Footage subsequently emerged of Hussain being doused with water as he screamed at the pain of the liquid.

John was eventually arrested at around 3am on July 14, having been caught at a petrol station in Hackney.

The defendant early pleaded guilty to six counts of throwing a corrosive liquid with intent to "disable, burn, maim, disfigure or cause grievous bodily harm", two counts of robbery and four counts of attempted robbery. However he has claimed he was urged on by an older accomplice.

Judge Noel Lucas QC said John was "despicable and callous," adding that "you and your accomplice chose to attack members of the public who were going about their lawful business.

"These were grave crimes and you attacked members of the public with acid of what appears to be on the strongest end of the scale.

"You have not revealed the name of your accomplice, or the liquid that was used or where you obtained it."

Speaking at a previous hearing, prosecutor Saira Nisar said: "These are a series of serious attacks moped and motorcycle riders that took place on July 13 over a very short period of time - approximately two hours.

"The modus operandi over all of the offences is identical - the attacker strikes when the moped rider is at a red light.

"The corrosive liquid is then sprayed directly over the face of the rider.

"As the rider is struggling with the pain and disorientation of being sprayed with this noxious substance, the riders who have done this steal or attempt to steal the vehicle."