17-year old acid attacker sentenced to 10 years

Derryck John pleaded guilty to six counts of using acid to ‘disable, burn, maim, disfigure or cause grievous bodily harm’

Derryck John acid attack
Derryck John, 17, sentenced to 10 years in prison for a series of acid attacks across north and east London. Credit: Metropolitan Police © All rights reserved

A 17-year-old has been jailed for 10 years for carrying out an acid attack on Upper Street and five others across North London.

Derryck John, from Croydon, was just 16 when he threw a corrosive liquid on six moped riders, all in a two-hour window in July of last year, while attempting to steal their vehicles.

He was sentenced at Wood Green Crown Court having pleaded guilty to six counts of using acid to ‘disable, burn, maim, disfigure or cause grievous bodily harm’ as well as two of robbery and four of attempted robbery.

John was accompanied during the attacks by an unidentified second man who is still being sought by police. During sentencing, Judge Noel Lucas QC described their actions as “despicable and cowardly”.

The pH levels of the acid used in the attacks ranged between one and two, a strength equivalent to that of battery acid. Police said that one victim had been left with life-changing injuries.

The attempted robbery on Upper Street was not successful, but a 44-year-old man was left requiring hospital treatment. The other five attacks occurred on Penny Brook Street in Stratford, Hackney Road in Hoxton, Cazenove Road in Stoke Newington, Chatsworth Road in Lower Clapton, and Shoreditch High Street.

Detective Sergeant James Leeks of Hackney CID said: “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. We have a particular focus on the small number of criminals prepared to use corrosive substances.

“If someone is in fear of being attacked with acid, or knows someone who is going to use it, they need to report it to police or confidentially through Crimestoppers. Your information will be actioned and you will be fully supported.”