Man jailed for throwing sulphuric acid over neighbour during argument

Samuel Osborne
Santokh Johal, 53, was sentenced to 20 years in prison, with a minimum of 15 years and the remainder on licence: Metropolitan Police

A man has been jailed for throwing a “highly acidic” substance over his neighbour during an argument.

Santokh Johal, 53, was sentenced to 20 years in prison at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Tuesday, with a minimum term of 15 years and the remainder on licence, the Metropolitan Police said.

He had been found guilty by a jury on 14 June of throwing a corrosive fluid with intent to burn, maim, disfigure or to do grievous bodily harm.

Police were called by Johal’s victim around 8pm on 4 January, who said Johal was outside his house in Leyton swearing and threatening to stab him.

The victim, aged in his 30s, opened his lounge window while still on the phone to police and Johal picked up a bottle he had brought with him and squirted acid at him before fleeing the scene.

The corrosive substance left his victim in “excruciating pain” as it burned his skin, Scotland Yard said.

When the London Ambulance Service and London Fire Brigade arrived at the property, they found the victim with grey marks over his upper body and arms.

He was put in the shower and hosed down with water, before being taken to hospital, where he underwent skin graft surgery on 20 per cent of his body.

The victim continues to attend a specialist burns hospital in Essex once a month for rehabilitation and therapy.

The substance Johal had thrown was examined and identified as being 91 per cent sulphuric acid, measured at pH1 level, meaning it was “highly acidic”.

Johal had attacked the man following a long-standing neighbour dispute.

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.”

He added: “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.”

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.”

Read more

Hate crime charge after man ‘throws acid in US citizen’s face’

Teenager throws acid on boyfriend ‘because he refused to marry her

Image of man who threw acid on 13-year-old girl released in appeal