Monday 19 August 2019

Ferne McCann breaks her silence on ex's conviction after acid attack in nightclub

Ferne McCann attends Ann Summers - a/w 2017 launch party on July 27, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Ricky Vigil M/GC Images)
Ferne McCann attends Ann Summers - a/w 2017 launch party on July 27, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Ricky Vigil M/GC Images)
Ferne McCann attends The Savvy Mummy event at Union Theatre on August 21, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Ricky Vigil M/GC Images)
Ferne McCann attends the TRIC Awards 2017 on March 14, 2017 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)
Arthur Collins
Ferne McCann attends the House Of Fraser British Academy Television Awards 2016 at the Royal Festival Hall on May 8, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)
Ferne Mccann attends the National Television Awards on January 25, 2017 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Anthony Harvey/Getty Images)
Ferne McCann and boyfriend Arthur Collins on holidays recently. Picture: Instagram

Tess de la Mere

TOWIE star Ferne McCann has expressed her sympathy for the victims of her ex-boyfriend after he was found guilty of an acid attack in a packed nightclub.

Arthur Collins, the father of The Only Way Is Essex star's newborn daughter Sunday, hurled the substance over a crowd at the Mangle E8 in Dalston, east London, on April 17.

Arthur Collins
Arthur Collins

Ms McCann broke off her relationship with Collins when she learned he was wanted for the crime.

The 25-year-old, of Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, was convicted at Wood Green Crown Court on Monday of five counts of grievous bodily harm with intent, and nine counts of actual bodily harm against 14 people, by a majority verdict of 10 to two.

He admitted throwing the bottle of fluid over clubbers but said he did not know it was acid.

It is believed Collins had started carrying the corrosive fluid to protect himself following a long-running feud between rival gangs.

Ferne McCann and boyfriend Arthur Collins on holidays recently. Picture: Instagram
Ferne McCann and boyfriend Arthur Collins on holidays recently. Picture: Instagram

Ms McCann, 27, said in a statement released on her behalf on Thursday: "Ferne's thoughts are of course with the innocent people caught up in the events at Mangle last April. No-one should ever be faced with violence on a night out.

"Having given birth a month ago, Ferne is focusing on being the best mother she can be.

"She long ago accepted that she would be doing this alone and is determined to provide the best possible future for her daughter."

Following the birth of her little girl, Ms McCann posted on Instagram: "Welcome to the world my darling. Didn't expect to see you a week early. I'm so in love and bursting with pride. It's a girl."

At his trial, Collins claimed he thought the liquid was a date rape drug, which he had snatched from two men after overhearing them planning to spike a girl's drink.

A total of 22 people reported injuries to the police when acid was thrown over the dancefloor, which was packed with Bank Holiday revellers, when Collins got into a confrontation with a group of men.

Sixteen people suffered chemical burn injuries and three people were temporarily blinded, one of whom still suffers from blurred vision in one eye.

Collins and his co-defendant Andre Phoenix, 21,were identified from the CCTV footage.

Ferne McCann attends The Savvy Mummy event at Union Theatre on August 21, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Ricky Vigil M/GC Images)
Ferne McCann attends The Savvy Mummy event at Union Theatre on August 21, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Ricky Vigil M/GC Images)

Phoenix was arrested on April 21 but Collins went on the run and was not apprehended until several days later, hiding out in a house in Higham Ferrers, Northamptonshire.

He sustained a leg injury jumping from an upstairs window trying to evade police.

On April 10, a week before the attack, Collins sent a text to his sister which read: "Tell mum to mind that little hand wash in my car acid."

Collins said the "hand wash" was actually a hair-thickening shampoo containing amino acid and coconut oil, which he kept in his car so Ms McCann did not find out about his hair loss and his two hair transplants.

Phoenix, of Clyde Road, Tottenham, north London, was acquitted of four counts of grievous bodily harm and two of actual bodily harm on Monday.

The semi-professional cage fighter said if he had a problem with someone he would just "knock them out" and insisted "I would never roll with acid".

Judge Noel Lucas QC warned Collins to expect "a very substantial custodial sentence" at his sentencing hearing on December 19.

PA Media

Also in this section