A shoplifter who squirted ammonia at two store staff in Lewisham Shopping Centre has been jailed for three years.
Julian Harvey-Bernard, 26, had poured the corrosive liquid into a Lucozade bottle and splashed it into the faces of the sports shop workers on December 2, 2016.
The two store staff confronted Harvey-Bernard when a security tag alarm was activated within the store.
When he left the shop the two staff members approached him, and he squirted one of them in the face with ammonia. He attempted to run away but was chased by the second shop worker who he also sprayed with the substance.
Both victims were taken to the hospital to receive treatment for non life-threatening injuries, which police believe could have blinded them.
Harvey-Bernard then ran off and officers were unable to locate him until March last year when he was found at Belmarsh Prison where he was on remand for an unrelated offence of being in possession of ammonia.
Harvey-Bernard pleaded guilty to all offences at Woolwich Crown Court on January 9 including throwing a corrosive fluid, shoplifting and possessing ammonia. He was convicted of all counts and sentenced to three years in prison.
Investigating office, Detective Constable Paul De Waal said: “During police interview Harvey-Bernard claimed to have been shoplifting to raise cash to buy food.
“He said that he planned only to use the ammonia in order to effect a fast escape and not to actually injure anybody. This conviction clearly demonstrates that there is no justification for inflicting potentially blinding injuries.
“Anyone considering carrying or using corrosive fluids as a weapon should take heed of today’s conviction.”
ELL reported last week that Derryck John, a 17-year-old Croydon teenager, attacked six moped drivers with acid last July.
Assistant Chief Constable of Suffolk Police, Rachel Kearton, revealed last month that the UK now has one of the highest rates of acid attacks per capita in the world – and the number is rising.
Tower Hamlets and Hackney are in the top five worst London boroughs for acid attacks, according to Met police statistics from January 2015 to April 2017.