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Trio seriously injured in Canterbury acid attack as youth appears in court

One of three acid attack victims, who may never fully regain her sight, has described the pain as "worse than child labour".

The trio were left with horrific injuries after acid was squirted in their faces in Canterbury.

Their skin blistered and steamed after the corrosive liquid was fired at them in two attacks in St Peter's Place on Friday afternoon.

Justin Vincent's facial injuries after the acid attack
Justin Vincent's facial injuries after the acid attack

Police have arrested and charged a 17-year-old youth from London, who appeared in court this week.

Homeless Emily Thompson, 36, was the worst affected and suffered agonising pain as the liquid was shot directly into her eyes.

The acid is likely to leave the sight in one eye permanently damaged.

“The pain was worse than child labour,” she said.

“The colour in one of my eyes has changed completely and the vision is very blurry. The attack was completely unexpected and the liquid, which we think is battery acid, was squirted out of something like a Lucozade bottle.

Emergency services at the scene on Friday
Emergency services at the scene on Friday

“I can’t believe it happened.”

The attack happened at 4pm on Friday amid increasingly violent crimes taking place on Canterbury’s streets.

On Thursday night a man had a “noxious liquid” sprayed in his face during a separate robbery in St Stephen’s.

Also hurt in the St Peter’s Place attack were homeless Justin Vincent, 39, and Janet Durrant, 69, who lives in a one-bedroom flat close to the crime scene.

"The pain was worse than child labour. I can't believe it happened..." - Victim Emily Thompson

All three were taken to the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford and will require ongoing tests and treatment.

Mr Vincent sustained welts to his forehead.

He told KentOnline's sister paper, the Kentish Gazette: “There was just so much burning on my face. My eyesight went all blurry so I just shut my eyes. I thought for a while that I might not be able to see again.

“The liquid was so strong it literally melted our clothes. The ambulance people were very good, though. They came to get us straight away.”

It is understood that all four people involved are known to each other.

Tests are being carried out on the liquid used.

The arrested youth, who is from the Forest Gate area of east London, made his first appearance at Folkestone Magistrates’ Court yesterday.

The attack happened in St Peter's Place, Canterbury
The attack happened in St Peter's Place, Canterbury

He spoke only to confirm his name and address, with magistrates placing a restriction on reporting his name because of his age.

He is charged with two counts of the wounding with intent of Mrs Durrant, Mr Vincent and Miss Thompson.

Prosecutor Adrian Crossley told the court if convicted the youth faces anywhere between two and 14 years in prison.

“These are grave allegations,” the barrister said.

Folkestone Magistrates Court
Folkestone Magistrates Court

“The liquid went into the eyes, but the prosecution do not as yet know the exact nature of it except that it was heavily corrosive.

“It caused blistering to their skin and steam to come from their faces as the acid hit them. Emily Thompson sustained the greatest damage and may have permanently suffered partial blindness.

“The liquid burned holes in their clothing and Janet Durrant says she has never felt anything like it.”

The prosecution alleges that the trio were attacked twice in separate incidents 10 minutes apart.

Magistrates remanded the 17-year-old in custody overnight into today, when he appeared before the youth court at Folkestone.

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