WARNING: GRAPIC CONTENT
A victim of the acid attack carried out by the ex-boyfriend of TOWIE star Ferne McCann has described the horrific moment her skin started peeling away.
Arthur Collins, the father of The Only Way Is Essex star’s newborn daughter, hurled acid over a crowd at the Mangle E8 nightclub in Dalston, east London, on April 17.
The 25-year-old, from Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, was found guilty at Wood Green Crown Court on Monday of five counts of grievous bodily harm with intent, and nine counts of actual bodily harm against 14 people, by a majority verdict of 10 to two.
Victims Phoebe Georgiou, 23, and Lauren Trent, 22, were celebrating their birthdays when they were caught by the acid flung by Collins.
They were preparing to leave the club when the acid was thrown, and could have sustained further skin damage had Miss Georgiou not climbed up a raised step and Miss Trent not stooped to collect her bag.
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Miss Georgiou said: ‘I stepped on the step and literally one second after I felt a big splash all over my chest and my arm.
‘I looked up and I saw it flying in the air. It was a thick liquid, it was steaming. And then I smelt the smell.
‘It was toxic. I couldn’t breathe, I was choking – it was choking my complete breathing airways and I looked down and my top was sizzling through to my skin.’
She told BBC Newsbeat: ’I felt liquid drench my entire chest and arm and it burnt through my chest. I looked down and it started eating my skin.’
When she realised what was happening, she soaked herself in water.
‘I poured it over my chest and my arm because my skin was eating itself. The pain was indescribable really. I was in a freezing cold shower for five hours and I was on morphine.
‘I saw my reflection in the shower hold, which was so shocking because my whole chest looked like it had been ripped apart and I could see the inside of my chest and my arm.’
Miss Trent, from Bournemouth, described the moment the acid was thrown.
‘As I bent down, it was like opening a Coke bottle – it made that sound, that hissing sound,’ she said.
‘As I went to the side I realised this wasn’t just a drink. I grabbed my neck and skin was coming off straight away in my hands.
‘The thing that’s in the back of my mind is that if I hadn’t have bent down to pick up my bag, that would have been my face.’
Miss Trent suffered first degree burns to her legs, feet, chest and neck, while Miss Georgiou suffered facial burns and permanent scarring.
Miss Georgiou must apply cream three times a day to alleviate tightness of the skin, and twice-daily applications of scar gel.
She wears a pressure garment on her left arm to keep the wounds from thickening, and is due to receive laser therapy on some of the worst-affected areas.
Another victim, Miss Trent’s friend Sophie Hall, 21, said the acid had made her skin ‘dissolve’.
She told Good Morning Britain: ‘I was sat down on my chair and it hit me in the face very strongly.
‘The sting and the pain felt like my face was on fire, it actually knocked me backwards off my chair.
‘It’s a feeling I can’t actually describe. I was on fire.’
Miss Hall, from Bournemouth, has facial scarring from the attack and a scar on her shoulder.