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A man who left his neighbour with catastrophic injuries after throwing acid over him during an argument has been jailed for 20 years.
Santokh Johal, 53, of Leyton, was sentenced at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Tuesday, December 10 to 20 years’ imprisonment, to serve a minimum of 15 years with the remainder on licence.
He was found guilty by a jury at the same court on Friday, June 14 of throwing a corrosive fluid with intent to burn, maim, disfigure or to do grievous bodily harm.
Police were called by the victim, aged in his 30s, at 18:57hrs on Friday, 4 January 2019 who said that Johal was outside his house in Leyton swearing and threatening to stab him.
While still on the phone to police, the victim opened his lounge window. As soon as Johal saw the window open, he picked up a bottle that he had brought with him and squirted the substance at the victim.
He then left the scene, leaving his victim in excruciating pain as the substance immediately began burning his skin.
Officers, the London Ambulance Service and the London Fire Brigade attended and found the victim with grey marks over his upper body and arms. The victim was immediately put in the shower and was hosed off with water.
The victim was taken to hospital where he underwent skin graft surgery on around 20 per cent of his body. He continues to attend a specialist burns hospital once a month in Essex for rehabilitation and therapy – the expected time frame for this treatment is indefinite.
Specialist (CBRN) officers attended the scene and examined the substance, which was identified as being 91 per cent sulphuric acid – it was measured at pH1 level [highly acidic].
Johal attacked his victim following a long-standing neighbour dispute.
He was arrested on Friday, January 4 and was charged the next day.
In a statement read to the court, the victim said: “Since this incident, I have not been able to sleep because I often see the defendant in my dreams trying to finish me off. I am constantly watching over my shoulder and if I see someone that looks similar to Mr Johal, I panic and am extremely frightened despite the fact I know he is in custody.
“I will be scarred for life. My body does not feel like my body anymore. Even in hot weather, I am having to dress in long sleeves and jackets just to cover my injuries.
“Because of this incident, I rarely leave my house these days. I do not want to face the public. I do not want people looking at me and making me feel paranoid. This crime has changed my life forever in such a negative way. I am constantly feeling anxious and this has taken me away from having a normal quality of life.
“When this attack took place, I went and stayed with my brother for around three weeks. This was difficult for me as I felt like a burden on someone else as he had to assist me with everyday activities such as getting dressed, washing and eating. I could not do the things I used to do.
“As far as I am concerned, Mr Johal has got what he wanted and he has ruined me for life. I have tried to come to terms with everything over the last eight months but still, I am haunted by the defendant and have had to accept that he has shown no remorse for invading my life and my existence.”
The investigating officer Detective Constable Jamie Howden, from the North East Area’s CID, said: “This attack was horrific and left the victim with substantial injuries which will serve as a constant reminder for the rest of his life. Although nothing will heal those scars, the victim can take comfort from knowing that justice has been served.”