John Tomlin jailed for 16 years over horrific acid attack on aspiring model and her cousin

David Mercer, News Reporter

A man has been jailed for 16 years for an horrific acid attack on an aspiring model and her cousin.

John Tomlin hurled sulphuric acid at Resham Khan and Jameel Muhktar as they travelled in a car in east London after celebrating her 21st birthday last year.

Mr Muhktar, who suffered third degree burns to his head and body and lost hearing in one ear, told Sky News that the attack had "destroyed" his life and Tomlin should face the death penalty.

Both victims had considered ending their own lives as a result of the attack, Snaresbrook Crown Court heard.

Tomlin, 25, pleaded guilty in November to two counts of causing grievous bodily harm with intent and was sentenced on Friday to 16 years in jail with an extended licence period of four years.

Judge Sheelagh Canavan described the victims' injuries as "dreadful and life changing" and told Tomlin he posed "a significant risk of serious harm to the public".

She said: "It is becoming all too common an occurrence on our streets that members of the public are pouring water over people who have had acid thrown over them, as if this is some sort of fashionable assault that is being carried out."

Tomlin, who has teardrops tattooed on his face, sat emotionless in the dock as the sentence was delivered.

The court heard he squirted sulphuric acid from a bottle at Mr Muhktar and Ms Khan as they sat in a car in Tollgate Road in Beckton on 21 June.

CCTV was played to the court which showed Tomlin chasing the vehicle as the victims tried to flee the attack before it crashed a short distance away.

Witnesses described seeing both victims "jumping around as if they were on fire" and their clothes "melting on to the ground".

Tomlin, of Colman Road, Canning Town, handed himself into police two weeks after the attack and told officers he had been "hearing voices in his head", the court heard.

The father-of-one was diagnosed with an unstable personality disorder and has a string of previous convictions, including vehicle theft, common assault, robbery and burglary.

Both victims attended the sentencing hearing and described the impact of their injuries.

Ms Khan wept as she told the court she was "in constant pain" and had suffered from severe depression and anxiety since the attack.

"My 21st birthday turned into a day where my face was taken away from me," she said.

"No matter what his sentence may be these injuries will affect me for the rest of my life."

Mr Muhktar told the court he had been "mentally and physically scarred for life".

The court heard that he told doctors after the attack: "I just want to die...I'm not getting better. I'm getting worse. If I was dead I would not have to go through this pain."

Tomlin's barrister, Rajinder Gill, told the court his client had been threatened with violence in prison since his arrest and Tomlin apologises for the "pain and suffering" caused to the victims.

But speaking outside court, Mr Muhktar branded Tomlin an "animal" and a "coward" and said he "deserves the death penalty".

"The sentence isn't long enough, my life has finished, I'm in continuous pain, I can't sleep and I can't eat," he added.

Asked about the rising number of acid attacks, Mr Muhktar said: "Something needs to be done about this. I don't feel this was a strong enough sentence. This will carry on now.

"He should have been given life. He should have done the whole of his life in prison.

"If this was in America he could have been given the death penalty. That's what he deserves."