Sunday 24 September 2017

Bleach attack left teen model temporarily blind

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Amy Murphy

A teenage model was left temporarily blind and scared she would never be able to see again after bleach was thrown into her face.

Victoria Smith, who was 17 at the time of the attack, was saved from more serious harm by the "foresight and quick actions" of her friend, who washed her eyes with a cola drink.

Rebecca Morris, 18, from Hull, admitted throwing the bleach at Miss Smith and was warned that she could be jailed when she is sentenced next week.

Hull Crown Court heard that Miss Smith, who has a history of depression and self-harm, attempted to commit suicide two months after the attack.

Stephen Welch, prosecuting, told the court that Miss Smith, who goes by the modelling name of Toria Melody, was lured to a house party in Hull in August last year.

Mr Welch said the teenager left the party because she felt that "something wasn't quite right" but was followed by Morris, who had a cup in her hand.

There had been "ill-feeling" between the pair, who were both students at Hull College, and Miss Smith had made a complaint to the college about Morris.

Mr Welch said: "The defendant threw the contents of the cup into Victoria Smith's face. She could smell bleach. Although she shut her eyes, some of the bleach went into her eyes and her mouth. She heard the defendant shout 'There's your shot of bleach instead of your shot of vodka. That's for getting me kicked out of college'."

The prosecutor continued: "Her eyes began to sting and she shouted 'It's bleach'. (Her friend) poured Coca-Cola into the victim's eyes trying to wash out the bleach. She showed great presence of mind."

He said the damage to Miss Smith's eyesight was lessened "thanks to the foresight and quick actions of her friend".

Miss Smith attended hospital, where she was given eye drops. Her hair turned green and she suffered burns to her scalp.

The court heard the victim's hair began to fall out and she now wears a wig after shaving her head.

Mr Welch said: "The injuries caused her a lot of pain and suffering. She was left temporarily blind for a month. It made her feel very scared and frightened. She felt she would never be able to see again. She got part of her vision back but it is sometimes blurry in bright lights."

The prosecutor told the court that Miss Smith feels unable to model any more because she has lost her "confidence and self-esteem". She stopped going to college because she is "frightened and scared" of being bullied.

He said she has stopped going out and feels like a "prisoner in her own room".

Mr Welch said Miss Smith went to Hull Royal Infirmary on October 21 last year after taking an overdose.

Morris, who has one previous conviction for common assault, admitted throwing a corrosive liquid with the intent to burn, maim, disfigure or disable or do some grievous bodily harm at an earlier hearing.

Judge David Tremberg said he would sentence her on March 2.

He said: "I want to make it clear to you that you should prepare yourself for the very real risk of an immediate custodial sentence when you come back."

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