(BBC) – A 17-year-old boy has been jailed for 10 and a half years for attacking six moped riders with acid while trying to steal their bikes.
Derryck John, from Croydon, previously admitted carrying out the attacks in the north and east of London on 13 July last year.
He sprayed the riders in the face with a noxious liquid, stole two mopeds and attempted to take another four.
One of the victims was left with “life-changing injuries”, police said.
Judge Noel Lucas QC described John’s “grave crimes” against members of the public as “despicable and cowardly”.
John appeared via video-link at Wood Green Crown Court where he previously pleaded guilty to 12 offences.
These included 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.
At the time Judge Lucas lifted restrictions identifying the teenager, saying there was an “overwhelming, huge public interest” in doing so.
The substance used in the attacks was thought to have had a pH of one or two, an acidity level similar to battery acid.
Timeline of attacks
21:30 – Liquid is splashed in the face of a 69-year-old moped driver at the junction of Penny Brookes Street and De Coubertin Street in Stratford. The victim flees but is chased by John and his accomplice along several streets before he is able to get away
22:25 – A 32-year-old man suffers injuries to his face and has his moped stolen after he is attacked on Hackney Road in Haggerston
22:49 – Acid is sprayed in the face of a 44-year-old moped rider on St Paul’s Road in Islington. The attackers leave the scene empty handed
23:05 – A 52-year-old man is attacked on Shoreditch High Street. John and his accomplice fail to take his moped
23:18 – Police are called to Cazenove Road in Upper Clapton after a 24-year-old man has acid thrown on him, but again nothing is stolen
23:37 – A 33-year-old man is attacked and has his moped stolen as he waits in traffic on Chatsworth Road in Lower Clapton
The judge told John that had he been sentencing him as an adult and had he been convicted after a trial as opposed to having pleaded guilty, the sentence would have been 22 years’ imprisonment.
Jabed Hussain, who suffered facial burns and breathing problems after he was attacked by John, had called for the 17-year-old to be given a life sentence.
The judge said it was “the second major corrosive fluid case” he had dealt with “in the past three months”.
He had previously overseen the Arthur Collins nightclub attack trial.
“It is clear to me that the carrying and use of corrosive liquids is rapidly becoming a serious and growing problem in London and in particular, in this part of London,” he said.
Ramesh Patel, of the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “One of the victims has lost 30 per cent of his eyesight which he will never recover.
“Others described searing pain and burning at the time and have been forced to leave their jobs as a result of their injuries.
“Had they not been wearing helmets their injuries could have been much more serious,” he said.
A second person who was captured on CCTV carrying out the attacks with John has never been found.
Scotland Yard said the moped driver was wearing dark clothing and a black helmet and appealed for anybody with information to contact them.