Saturday, March 22, 2014

[Watch CCTV Video]: Mary Konye Jailed For 12 Years For Acid Attack on Former Friend In East London

Naomi Oni, left scarred for life by burns on face and chest after attack that Mary Konye [Pictured Right] only admitted after her conviction
A woman who threw acid in the face of her friend while disguised by a Muslim veil has been jailed for 12 years.

Business student Mary Konye, 22, attacked Naomi Oni, a Victoria's Secret shop assistant, over a "trivial, insignificant" argument after following her home from work.

Oni was left scarred for life after suffering serious burns on her face and chest following the incident in Dagenham, east London, on 30 December 2012.

Judge David Radford, who sentenced Konye at London's Snaresbrook crown court , said the consequences of her "deliberate [and] wicked act have been devastating to Miss Oni". He added that it was a premeditated and callous plan to burn and disfigure the victim.

Konye, who was convicted in January, looked straight ahead from the dock and showed no reaction as she was sentenced.


Oni, 22, who did not attend the sentencing, said in a statement to the court that she considered killing herself after being "violated" by her "evil" attacker.

A CCTV image issued by the Metropolitan police of Mary Konye disguised in a niqab following Naomi Oni home before she attacked her with acid.
Delivering his sentence, Judge Radford said: "This careful, premeditated criminality was planned against a person who reasonably believed you were a true friend."

The judge said Konye had been "deliberately untruthful" during the trial, after she admitted throwing the acid following her conviction. A letter of remorse she had since written was "utterly belated", he added.

Radford said Oni's life had been "ruined" along with her trust in friends.

In a statement read to the court by prosecutor Gareth Patterson, Oni said she was now "paranoid and scared" about being outdoors alone.

The victim told the court that, before the attack, she was a confident young woman with a job she enjoyed. "All this changed that day I was struck with acid and my life was turned upside down," she said. It was now a "battle to get by each day" after being permanently disfigured, she added.

Oni said she had suffered permanent scars to her leg, chest, stomach and arms and was almost blinded in one eye. She faces further reconstructive surgery and must wear a silicon face mask which makes it difficult to breathe, the court heard.

Oni said: "I'm reminded what I look like every day I look in the mirror or see the reaction on people's faces. The whole traumatic experience has changed my life."

Oni said her mother, who was in court for the hearing, had kept her going but their relationship was sometimes "strained" after they had been forced to move into a hostel.

She added: "People often stare at me. Some ask what happened to my face. I'm still scared of being attacked again."

Oni said she regretted ever being friends with Konye. "It was bad enough believing it was a random attack. Knowing Mary planned this is beyond belief. I don't trust people in the same way any more."

During her trial, the jury heard that Konye pretended to give Oni a shoulder to cry on following the attack.

Konye used the "implausible" excuse that it had been Oni who planned the incident because she wanted "fame and fortune and to sell her story to the paper", police said.

CCTV footage obtained by police after the attack showed Konye in a niqab following Oni as she left work at the Westfield shopping centre in Stratford at about 11.30pm. Watch below...



The victim lost her hair and eyelashes, and required skin graft surgery to cover her burns.

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

It is thought to have been a copycat attack mimicking the one suffered by model and TV presenter Katie Piper, who was badly scarred and left blind in one eye in an assault arranged by her ex-boyfriend, Daniel Lynch, in 2008.

Oni previously told the court that Konye was aware of how much of an impact Piper's ordeal had on her after watching a television documentary about it.

The pair, who had been friends since secondary school, fell out in April 2011 when Oni allegedly accused Konye of texting her boyfriend and called her an "ugly monster".

Konye, of Canning Town, east London, denied throwing or casting a corrosive fluid with intent to burn, maim, disfigure, disable or do grievous bodily harm.

Her lawyer Sally O'Neill QC told the court Konye has since admitted throwing the acid, following her conviction, but maintained she did not intend to cause injury to Oni's face.

"The reason for this incident will always be shrouded in some doubt and mystery," O'Neill said.

She added that Konye was an "immature 22-year-old" with a possible personality disorder and had been threatened by other inmates while in prison awaiting sentencing.