Acid attack victim talks

The victim of a brutal acid attack has spoken out about his injuries after a teenager and two men were jailed for a total of 52 years, writes Lorraine King. Awais Akram was left with 47 per cent burns after sulphuric acid drain cleaner was thrown over hi

The victim of a brutal acid attack has spoken out about his injuries after a teenager and two men were jailed for a total of 52 years, writes Lorraine King.

Awais Akram was left with 47 per cent burns after sulphuric acid drain cleaner was thrown over him and attempts were made to pour it down his throat in July last year.

On Tuesday, 17-year-old Fabion Luci from Harlesden, was sentenced to eight years in a youth offenders' institute after he was found guilty of conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm.

The Kosovon was acquitted of conspiracy to murder Mr Akram.

Luci teamed up with Mohammed Vakas, 26, and Mohammed Adeel, 20, who are both from Leytonstone, east London, to attack Mr Akram after Vakas discovered he had had an affair with his married sister Sadia Khatoon.

Khatoon lured Mr Akram from his home on to the street where the acid was hurled at him.

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He was also beaten and stabbed during the attack that left him needing four life-saving skin grafts and blood transfusions.

Vakas was convicted of conspiracy to murder and sentenced to 30 years and Adell was found guilty of conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm and handed down 14 years.

Detectives are still hunting for Khatoon and her husband Shakeel Abassi who are believed to have fled to Pakistan after the attack.

In a victim impact statement read to the court Awais Akram said: "I have been asked how this has affected me and I want to make a victim impact statement.

"So, first of all, I want to say that it has affected me psychologically. If I ever go out by myself, I get very upset. I try to avoid this and always go with someone else. I have been out only once or twice I'm very scared and I keep looking back, to see if someone's there. If I see anyone, I notice that they're looking at me because of my face - my face is so badly burned.

"Whenever I do anything, my hands don't work properly at the moment, I can't do anything. I feel like I have a kind of fear which is inside my brain and I feel like it will be there for the rest of my life. This is to the extent that I haven't given my address where I'm living to any friend or anyone. I only just recently started talking on the phone because I'm worried that the person I'm speaking to might have contact with the people that have done this. In London I'm very scared and I don't like living here.

"My injuries are bad. Physically my hands and my arms - they don't function properly and the doctors have asked me not to do certain things. My skin is damaged all the way from my head to my knees.

"I've already had skin grafts to my arms. Doctors have told me that my reproductive system is damaged. They can't tell me the extent of it at the moment and we'll have to see, when the time comes. I wear gloves on my hands and coverings on my arms, to try to get the skin to grow back normally. Gradually it is starting to grow back to the normal colour. They have given me a similar face mask as well for to me to wear. All the body is like that.

"My legs are burned all the way down to my knees and my arms are badly damaged. My thumb is damaged as well. It's difficult to move.

My eye is also damaged and I'm using eye drops and they've given me some tablets. There's an operation planned for next year for my eye - the skin is damaged and the cells are not growing inside. They've medication for it for about four months and, it's not helping, the damage is in quite deep.

"It's obviously affected my family too.

"They are very upset, especially my father and mother. When this happened, and it looked like there wasn't any chance of me surviving it my dad became very quiet. When he sees me he gets very upset because I'm the only son in our family.

"I'm scared of going to see my friends, that if someone tells anyone, the news might be passed from one person to another and I'm scared that I would be tracked down and something similar could happen again.

"About my future, at the moment I can only say that it's just going to continue to be about my treatment for three or four or who knows how many more years than that. I have operations for my skin, ears and eye to come.

"I think they're going to be two operations for my eye. It's going to take a long time. I've already had a lot of surgeries. For my ears I think they're going use the skin from another part of my body.

I will have to ask for help from other people for the rest of my life now - I'll need help from my parents, or a carer. I can't do anything yet. I can't even walk properly at the moment. My speech is quite slow and I get very tired quickly."

Commending Mr Akram for his bravery, senior Investigating officer, DCI Nigel Furness of Waltham Forest CID, said: "This has been a complex investigation which has relied upon witnesses coming forward from the community, for which we are extremely grateful, and the strength of evidence given by the victim, Awais Akram.

"Awais is to be commended for his bravery in giving evidence following a brutal attack which has left him severely disfigured for life. No words can describe the amount of courage it took for him to stand in court, face his attackers and give his account.

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