A gardener suffered severe burns after a woman became annoyed by the sound of his grass trimmer and threw sulfuric acid in his face.
Derek Mahoney, 53, was cutting grass in Hackney, east London, U.K., when 54-year-old Jacqueline Pocket emerged and threw drain cleaner in his face. The cleaner was 91 percent sulfuric acid.
"They were using a machine outside my door for cutting the grass," Pocket said in court. "They were there for a while and I just put something in a cup and threw it." The woman acknowledged that she put drain cleaner in the cup, and later admitted to grievous bodily harm. "They get on my nerves," she said after being questioned by authorities. "They think they can do what they like."
After Mahoney was attacked with the acidic cleaner, neighbors rushed to help him by pouring water and milkshakes on his head in an effort to remove the acid and sooth the burning sensation. Mahoney wound up losing three layers of skin on his head, back and neck, and underwent months of treatment, resulting in permanent scarring.
“When I felt the acid on my face it just got hotter and hotter," he said. "This has affected my life, not only physically with the burns but mentally. I’m afraid to go out and I’m quite jumpy around other people. I stay home a lot where I feel it’s safe."
Pocket was sentenced to detainment in a medical facility and did not receive any jail time.
"I am satisfied you have a mental health disorder, identified by a number of doctors as delusional," Judge Paul Taylor told the woman. "It is appropriate you be detained for medical treatment under a hospital order. A prison sentence would be limited and would not properly protect the public from you. A hospital order could be seen as the soft option but in this case it is the opposite. It could lead to this woman spending the rest of her life in custody in a hospital environment.” The length of Pocket’s sentence will ultimately depend on her behavior and cooperation.
Mahoney was not pleased with Pocket’s sentence, saying that he believes she deserved to be locked up.
“I’m really disappointed with the decision,” he said. “She should have been jailed. It was only by circumstance and me having working goggles on that I wasn’t blinded or worse. I am angry and I feel let down. The thought she could be out in just over a year is worrying, especially for the safety of the public. Who knows if she might do it again?”