A TEENAGER has admitted carrying out a spate of acid attacks on moped riders in order to steal their bikes.
Derryck John, 17, of Thornton Heath, has plead guilty to the six attacks across Newham, Islington, Haringey and Hackney on 13 July 2017 at Wood Green Crown Court yesterday.
John reportedly sprayed the riders in the face with a noxious liquid – with a pH of one or two, an acidity level similar to battery acid – and stole two mopeds before trying to take another four.
He was arrested at about 03:00 the following day, after a road traffic collision involving a suspected stolen moped linked him to the attacks.
The teenage initially denied 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.
Due to his age, reporting restrictions previously prevented John from being identified, however after he pleaded guilty to the 12 counts, Judge Noel Lucas QC told the court there was an ‘overwhelming, huge public interest’ in identifying him.
An unnamed 15-year-old boy was also arrested and listed in John’s charge, although no further action has been taken against him.
Sentencing will take place on 9 March at Wood Green Crown Court, when the court will also deal with a further charge against John of robbery on June 25, 2017.
Police say that two of the targeted riders continue to receive treatment for their injuries.
DS James Leeks from Hackney CID commented: ‘Derryck John did not think twice about using a life changing and even potentially life-threatening substance against those who resisted his robbery attempts. Acid attacks ruin lives and have no place in our society.
‘It beggars belief that anyone would be prepared to scar someone for life and leave them to live with life-changing injuries for the sake of a phone or a moped. We are working hard to keep the public safe and make the streets hostile territory for criminals who steal scooters and use them to snatch valuables from members of the public. We have a particular focus on the small number of criminals prepared to use corrosive substances to do so.’