Two men who threw ammonia in the faces of two female victims during violent robberies have been convicted.
Sadik Kamara, 24 (19.07.93) of Booth Road, Newham - a rapper who goes by the name Trizzy Trapz - and Joshua Jordan, 20 (22.01.97) of Ruscoe Road, Newham, were found guilty of robbery and “applying a corrosive fluid with intent to burn, maim, disfigure or disable or to do some grievous bodily harm” at Wood Green Crown Court on Tuesday, 10 October.
Both men had previously pleaded guilty to attempted robbery.
On the first day of the trial, Monday, 2 October, Kamara pleaded guilty to a second count of applying a corrosive fluid with intent to burn, maim, disfigure or disable or to do some grievous bodily harm, which Jordan was found guilty of.
They will be sentenced at the same court on Friday, 17 November.
The court heard how Kamara and Jordan travelled across London to commit the offences, first targeting a lone female shopkeeper and then a woman at random walking along the street.
Their first robbery took place in the early evening of Friday, 10 March. The pair were part of a gang who targeted a supermarket on Mare Street in Hackney. The court was shown CCTV of the robbery where four men entered the family-run supermarket wearing hoods, gloves and facial coverings.
During the robbery, Kamara squirted ammonia at least three times in the face of the shopkeeper - a woman in her early 50s.
The victim bravely fought back against the four men, and succeeded in pressing the store’s panic button. As she lay with burn injuries on the floor, one of the gang deliberately stamped on her. The victim quickly poured water on her burns, preventing more serious injury.
The second robbery occurred about ten minutes after the first robbery, and around half a mile away on Hassett Road. The victim, a woman in her late 50s, had been walking to a friend's house after getting out of a taxi.
The gang happened to pass the woman, and stopped their getaway car. Two members of the gang forced the woman to the floor and one pinned her face to the pavement while the other repeatedly sprayed the woman in the face with the substance.
The pair stole her handbag and ran back to their getaway car. The court heard from a witness who didn’t see the attack but saw the pair laughing amongst themselves whilst running along a nearby street carrying the victim's hand bag.
Discarded ammonia bottles used in the attacks were found near to the crime scenes. The ammonia they contained was of high strength, and the bottles were marked with warnings that the contents could cause "severe skin burns and blindness.”
Both victims were rushed to hospital with facial burn injuries, one suffering chemical burns to her mouth. Fortunately, neither victim has been permanently disfigured.
An investigation was launched by detectives from Hackney CID, and Kamara and Jordan were indentified as suspects after extensive CCTV enquiries.
In May 2017, officers executed arrest warrants at the home addresses of Kamara and Jordan.
It was established from paperwork found at Kamara’s address that a few hours after the robberies, he had sought medical treatment after claiming he had accidentally burnt himself with ammonia whilst cleaning.
At the time of the robberies, Kamara was subject to a suspended six-month prison sentence, having been convicted in late 2016 for possession of an offensive weapon and assault on a police officer. He was found with a knife during a stop and search.
Detective Constable Ben Kahane, from Hackney CID, said: “The two victims in the case are hard-working, law-abiding members of the community who have endured a dreadful ordeal.
"The level of violence used was completely disproportionate. The witness testimony describing how two of the suspects ran off laughing I think sums up the callous enjoyment the gang felt in targeting their victims.
“It was due to a combination of luck and rapid treatment of the chemical burns with water that the victims escaped life-changing injuries. It is a reminder to the public that if they come across victims with corrosive substance burns, the best immediate treatment is pouring water on the injuries.”
Enquiries continue to bring the other men who took part in the robberies to justice.