The text message that confirmed Collins knew about the acid. Picture: Central News
The text message that confirmed Collins knew about the acid. Picture: Central News

Text that brought down nightclub attacker

WARNING: Graphic content

Arthur Collins was slammed by a judge as a "despicable liar" as he jailed him for 20 years over a horror nightclub acid attack that left clubbers scarred for life.

The 25-year-old ex of reality star Ferne McCann branded the attack a "stupid little mistake" as his lawyer said he "feels as if the entire world has turned against him", The Sun reports.

Collins winked at his family who called back "love you Arthur" as he was led from the dock at Wood Green Crown Court to begin his sentence.

In a letter read out by the judge, he had finally expressed regret for the horror attack that left dozens of revellers injured at Mangle E8, a club in East London, on April 17.

His lawyer George Carter-Stephenson QC had argued the confrontation in the club developed "very rapidly", adding: "It's a stupid, thoughtless reaction, and one which Mr Collins now bitterly regrets."

A mugshot of Arthur Collins after he was arrested for the London nightclub acid attack.
A mugshot of Arthur Collins after he was arrested for the London nightclub acid attack.

 

But sentencing him for 20 years with an extended five years on licence, Judge Noel Lucas QC said Collins was "an accomplished and calculating liar" who has not "demonstrated the slightest remorse".

The judge added that Collins had deliberately taken strong acid to the nightclub "to use when the need arrised".

He said that Collins had said "sorry" just once during 90 minutes of mitigation.

"It was a hollow sorry - not for what he had done, but for the effect of his actions.

"He has expressed not the least remorse for carrying and using a highly corrosive acid. The injuries must have been extremely painful and utterly terrifying," the judge said.

Collins, who showed no emotion as he was sentenced, had been confronted by his tearful victims during the day's hearing - with one saying "imagine it was your daughter".

Phoebe Georgiou, 23, was celebrating her birthday when Collins launched the substance over crowds on the packed dancefloor.

She told Collins: "I mourn the old Phoebe. I grieve for her every day."

She added: "You couldn't find a shred of human decency to admit what you had done. I have been given a life sentence by you."

Sophie Hall, 22, broke down as she faced Collins, telling him she knew when the acid was hurled at her she would be "scarred for life".

She said: "I knew my face was a mess. I could feel it in my hands. It was all blistered."

Sophie's friend Lauren Trent also wept as she explained how her birthday will "now be an anniversary of an acid attack".

Sophie Hall and Lauren Trent were caught up in the acid attack
Sophie Hall and Lauren Trent were caught up in the acid attack

She added: "Imagine that phone call was your daughter on her 22nd birthday, and you were stuck two hours away in your home town.

"She tells you her skin is coming off in her hands from her neck. All she can see in the bathroom is people screaming."

Speaking after the sentencing, Sophie had hoped for a life sentence. "I do feel like justice has been served. The last eight, nine months of our lives have been hell.

"Arthur didn't show any signs of remorse in court. His actions are something he is going to have to live with.

"And also the scars I have been left with are something I am going to have look at every time I look in the mirror; every time I get changed, every time I take my clothes off."

The injuries Lauren sustained
The injuries Lauren sustained

Judge Noel Lucas QC praised the three victims for their "extraordinary courage" in returning to court.

But Mr Carter-Stephenson QC produced a folder containing photos of the victims in swimsuits and on holiday to show "to a certain extent they have returned to some normality".

Collins, who had been out celebrating after discovering Ferne, 27, was pregnant with baby daughter Sunday, had admitted throwing the liquid but said he did not know it was acid.

He told Wood Green Crown Court he thought it was a date rape drug and had snatched it from two men after overhearing them planning to spike a girl's drink.

Collins also appeared to warn his sister about acid in his car following the attack.

A photo of Collins’ sister’s phone. Picture: Central News
A photo of Collins’ sister’s phone. Picture: Central News

Jurors said he was guilty and the judge convicted him of grievous bodily harm with intent and nine counts of actual bodily harm on 14 victims.

His alleged accomplice Andre Phoenix, 21, was cleared.

During his trial, he painted a profile of himself as someone who "respects" women because of his four sisters.

But the court heard of his lengthy rap sheet including assault occasioning actual bodily harm, criminal damage and a police caution in 2013 for threatening to throw acid in the face of an ex's mum.

CCTV footage showed Collins throwing acid from a bottle three times as he hides behind two friends while wearing a "Candy Killer" T-shirt.

Collins went on the run after the attack, but was tracked by cops to a house in Northampton.

Arthur Collins on CCTV in the nightclub
Arthur Collins on CCTV in the nightclub

This article originally appeared in The Sun and has been republished here with permission.



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