London – VIJAY SHAH via ALEX SHAW and Newham Recorder
Two vicious criminals who laughed as they launched attacks on people have been sentenced by a judge who described their attacks as ‘horrifying, cruel and barbaric’ have been sentenced, the Newham Recorder reports.
Joshua Jordan and Sadik Kamara launched attacks on women using ammonia liquid, which thy sprayed on their victims in order to rob them. After spraying the ‘high strength corrosive liquid’ in the violent robberies on two victims, they were reported as leaving the scenes laughing by witnesses. Kamara, aged 24, of Booth Road, Silvertown, and his accomplice Jordan, 20 years and living in Ruscoe Road, Canning Town, both in south Newham, were jailed for 14 years each by a judge at the Old Bailey court in London.
The trial, the culmination of proceedings that took place in early October, was presided over by Judge Dodd QC, who described the men’s attacks as “horrifying, cruel and barbaric” and said that the duo posed a significant risk to the public of further harm. It took the jury less than an hour to convict Jordan and Kamara.
The robbers would travel from their homes in Newham to the neighbouring borough of Hackney, where they were casing a convenience store in Mare Street, Central Hackney. Then on March 10, they launched their attack, targeting the 50-year-old storekeeper, who was working the tills alone at the time. Four men, believed to include Jordan and Kamara, entered the store. Without warning, the masked intruders walked straight to the storekeeper, with Kamara squirted the ammonia directly into her face. He did not make any demands for cash or even give the victim any warning.
Despite being sprayed from close range, CCTV footage from inside the store showed the storekeeper gallantly trying to fight off and kick out the gang, who are seen milling around the front of the shop. The scuffle sends store displays crashing to the floor as the woman tries to protect the shop from being plundered.
After fleeing the supermarket in a getaway car, the gang chanced upon their next victim, also a woman in her fifties, in Hackney’s Hassett Road. Two robbers got out of the car and bundled the woman to the ground, where they repeatedly sprayed the liquid into her face and stole her handbag. Police found discarded bottles of the substance at both crime scenes, the labels clearly stating that the ammonia could cause severe skin burns and blindness.
Both the shopkeeper and pedestrian who were assaulted were rushed to hospital with burns, one of which sustained chemical burns to her mouth also. While neither suffered permanent harm, the storekeeper was traumatised to the point she has now given up working at the shop.
CCTV cameras caught the gang, including Kamara and Jordan, who were subsequently arrested at their homes after police raids in May this year. Medical paperwork was found in Kamara’s home suggesting he had sought treatment, possibly for chemical burns, a day after the robberies. At the hospital, Kamara lied to doctors, claiming he had squirted ammonia in his eye while cleaning. He had since recovered from the burns.
The two robbers, who were described by investigators as little more than ‘cowards’, were convicted of two counts of applying a corrosive fluid with intent to burn, maim, disfigure or disable or to do some grievous bodily harm; one count of robbery; and one count of attempted robbery. Kamara was also told to make restitution of £2,000 (USD $2,678) to the victims.
Investigation lead Det Con Ben Kahane called the pair’s actions “cowardly in the extreme”.
“Five physically strong males preying on lone slightly built women to attack and rob,” he said, adding: “I hope they use the 14 years’ imprisonment that they have received to reflect on this.”
The report does not mention the fate of the other members of Kamara’s and Jordan’s gang. Acid attacks and assaults with corrosive chemicals such as ammonia and bleach are the rise in London, with many such attacks carried out for the purposes of robbing the victim.
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“Jailed: “Cowardly” Newham robbers who burnt women’s faces with ammonia” – Alex Shaw, Newham Recorder/Archant (8 December 2017) http://www.newhamrecorder.co.uk/news/crime-court/jailed-cowardly-newham-robbers-who-burnt-women-s-faces-with-ammonia-1-5314590
“File:Liquid ammonia bottle.jpg” – Nadina Wiórkiewicz, Fotoedukacja/Wikimedia Commons (23 January 2011) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Liquid_ammonia_bottle.jpg