London - A university student threw acid in the face of a friend in a copycat version of the attack on model Katie Piper because she was jealous of her good looks, a court heard yesterday.
Mary Konye, 21, allegedly disguised herself in a Muslim veil and followed Naomi Oni home before attacking the Victoria’s Secret lingerie shop assistant who is said to have once called her ugly.
Miss Oni, also 21, screamed and could smell her skin and hair burning, the jury heard. She ran home where her family tried frantically to wash off the acid.
But she lost the skin from her face, and has permanent scarring over her body, the court was told. Her clothes tested positive for sulphuric acid. Konye – who had allegedly told a friend she wanted to throw acid at Miss Oni – denies the attack and being jealous.
The Hertfordshire University business and finance student knew that Miss Oni – a friend since secondary school – had been deeply moved by the widely-reported case of Miss Piper, Snaresbrook Crown Court in East London heard.
The model and TV presenter was badly scarred and left blind in one eye after she had sulphuric acid thrown in her face in a 2008 attack arranged by her ex-boyfriend Daniel Lynch.
Gareth Patterson, prosecuting, told jurors: “Naomi will tell you about her friendship with the defendant. She will tell you how in the past they had an up and down relationship and how the defendant had admitted to her that on one occasion in anger she threatened to throw acid at Naomi.
“There was a reason why the defendant would have chosen to make such an unusual sort of threat. In the past the two of them had discussed a young woman called Katie Piper.
“Naomi and the defendant had discussed this and it appears that the defendant knew that Naomi had been particularly moved by Katie Piper’s ordeal.
“Naomi stated that she and the defendant had fallen out in the past and says that there was an occasion during a row when she called the defendant ugly.
“She says they were later back on speaking terms and that the defendant said to her that she (the defendant) had been so angry at the time that she had said to someone else that she wanted to throw acid at Naomi.”
Before the attack early on December 30, 2012, Miss Oni was described as a “good-looking young woman” interested in fashion and beauty.
The court heard she left work at the Westfield shopping centre in Stratford, East London, at around 11.30pm. CCTV footage shows a figure in a niqab with only her eyes visible who “lingered, waiting to see the victim” and “tailed her home” walking a few steps behind her, Mr Patterson said.
He added: “All of a sudden Naomi felt a liquid being thrown into her face. She screamed and felt her face burning. She could smell her skin and hair burning.”
Miss Oni’s mother described her as “crying hysterically” when she arrived home in Dagenham. Her family said her hair weave was disintegrating, as were her leggings and her top.
Mr Patterson said there was “visible burning to her nose, cheeks and chin and also to her right wrist, hand, stomach area and left thigh”.
Miss Oni, who had a skin graft to her face, nearly lost her sight but suffers from significant scarring.
Konye, of Canning Town, East London, was arrested and told police Miss Oni was very attractive, but denied being jealous of her looks.
She denies throwing or casting a corrosive fluid with intent to burn, maim, disfigure, disable or do grievous bodily harm. The case continues. -Daily Mail