Schoolgirl jailed for attacking love rival with acid hidden in viola case
Teenager Emily Bowen, now 18, poured One Shot drain cleaner into a viola case owned by Molly Young after she discovered the girl had started dating her former boyfriend.
The instrument was destroyed and Young was severely injured when she pulled her viola case from a shelf and the liquid poured over her legs, the Times reports. She was left “screaming in pain” as the acid burnt her clothes and skin at Knox Academy in Haddington, East Lothian.
Bowen, appearing for sentencing at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Tuesday, admitted recklessly and culpably pouring sulphuric acid into a viola case in the knowledge that it would be removed from a shelf by the victim, causing her injury and permanent disfigurement, on September 18.
Sheriff Michael O’Grady, QC, said he had no other option but to jail her for 21 months for the “utterly wicked” attack. He also imposed a five-year non-harassment order.
“You actually researched this topic and you should have been aware of the potentially horrendous consequences for any young woman maimed by this mechanism,” O’Grady said.
“You have left a young woman to suffer a terrifying ordeal and she will be both physically and mentally scarred for the rest of her life.”
Previously the court was told the girls, both “talented musicians,” were acquaintances who played together in the school orchestra. Bowen, who played the clarinet, fell out with Young when she began going out with one of her former boyfriends.
The court heard the victim, now 18, suffered psychological problems, had “shooting pains and nerve damage” and had undergone painful laser treatment for the burns.
Jim Stephenson, Bowen’s lawyer, said the jailed teen had recently been diagnosed with autism and was suffering from depression.
The case is one among a worrying trend of attacks.
Dr Martin Niall, a burns surgeon at Mid-Essex Hospital, told National Public Radio (NPR) in the US that acid attacks in Britain “are now at levels that one of my colleagues described as epidemic.”
“Everyone, ourselves included, has been shocked by this emerging threat to public health.”
Since 2010, there have been more than 1,900 reports of attacks involving corrosive fluids in London. The British capital has seen a 74 percent rise in the number of acid attacks – from 261 to 454 – between 2015 and 2016.
Already 2017 has seen a spate of assaults. Twelve people suffered burns and in some cases lost their vision after an attack in a Hackney nightclub in May, and two teens riding stolen mopeds attacked five people around London in under 90 minutes in a July crime spree.
Under the current law, police must prove a person found carrying acid has intent to cause harm. Home Secretary Amber Rudd has said acid attackers could in future face life imprisonment.