A fresh-faced teenager with a “nasty vicious” streak sprayed three people with acid in the middle of Canterbury.
London drug dealer Fahad Abdi, 18, had taken over his victims’ city home, using it to stash huge wads of cash and class A substances.
But when he thought people were stealing from him, he armed himself with corrosive fluid and went looking for revenge.
Now he is facing a long prison sentence after a jury convicted him today of spraying the acid at Janet Durrant, Emily Thompson and Justin Vincent.
Judge James O’Mahony told him: “It is absolutely shocking to me that someone of your age could commit such a wicked and cowardly act.
“You appeared in court initially as a fresh-faced young man, but it became very clear there is another side to you and you showed you could change very quickly and reveal your nasty streak.”
Prosecutor Simon Taylor had told Canterbury Crown Court how earlier this year Abdi had travelled from his east London home to Canterbury to “peddle misery” by selling hard drugs.
“He had adopted a common practice which is colloquially known as ‘cuckooing’,” he said.
"This is about as bad a case as this court has heard in a very long time..." - Judge James O’Mahony
“This effectively involves finding a local drug user and using their home as a base for supplying drugs. In return, the dealer gives the local drug user drugs as payment.”
Mr Taylor said the victims had lived in St Peter’s Place, Canterbury, where Abdi stored his drugs and money.
“Things didn’t go to plan and some of his drugs were stolen while he was out going about his business,” he said.
“Predictably, the defendant suspected that Miss Durrant, Miss Thompson or Mr Vincent were involved in the theft.”
The prosecutor said Abdi pulled a knife on Miss Durrant and threatened her, although she was unharmed.
Mr Taylor added: “However, at about 4pm on February 10 the defendant followed through with his threat in St Peter’s Place.
“He approached Ms Thompson and Mr Vincent and sprayed them with a noxious substance.”
The jury heard that neither of them would cooperate with police in the investigation – but the prosecutor thanked the Kentish Gazette newspaper for supplying a photograph taken of Mr Vincent after he was interviewed for a story following the attack.
The prosecutor said later Abdi sprayed Ms Durrant in the face with a noxious substance adding: “Whatever this was it caused blistering and burns to the face, loss of sight, extreme pain and swelling to each of the faces of the people who were targeted.”
Abdi was arrested 40 minutes after the attack at Canterbury East as he tried to flee the city.
Judge O’Mahony remanded him in custody for reports before sentencing in September.
He told him he could have left his victims maimed, disfigured or scarred. “This is about as bad a case as this court has heard in a very long time,” he said. “You have showed yourself to be perfectly capable of menacing people with your extremely violent behaviour.
“When you found your stash of drugs and money had gone missing you became vicious and very nasty.”
Investigating officer DC Terence Seager said: "This public act of aggression left the victims with little time to protect themselves from what can only be described as a callous attack.
"Abdi has shown that even at such a young age he is capable of premeditated violence with absolutely no regard for life. This was a particularly vicious assault which has physically and emotionally scarred the victims.
"Thankfully he will now serve time in prison and the people of Canterbury will be far safer as a result."