Mary Konye, the woman who threw acid on her ‘friend’ Naomi Oni, has been jailed for 12 years at Snaresbrook Crown Court.
22-year-old Naomi suffered burns to her face and chest in the attack which took place near her home in Dagenham, East London in December 2012.
Last year, a BBC programme showed CCTV footage of a woman dressed in a veil following Naomi on her way back from work. The woman followed her until she got a few meters to her home where she then carried out the horrendous attack.
Unknown to Naomi at the time, her attacker was someone she went to secondary school with and they had remained friends afterwards.
Naomi had carefully disguised her appearance by wearing the veil but thankfully, the police were able to still recognise her despite her deceit.
Mary Konye who lives in Canning town, claims she carried out the cruel attack because Naomi had once called her ugly. Although she admitted carrying out the attack, she claims she didn’t mean to cause injury to Ms Oni’s face.
In an impact statement read out in court, Naomi says she finds it difficult living with her physical appearance. (BBC)
A once confident woman, the attack has had devastating effects on Naomi who says she struggles to get by everyday and has even considered suicide.
Naomi suffered permanent scars to her leg, chest. arms and legs. She was also left almost blinded in one eye.
“I’m reminded what I look like every day I look in the mirror or see the reaction on people’s faces.
“The whole traumatic experience has changed my life. At times I felt suicidal and thought about ending it all.”
She says it’s her mum who’s kept her going through it all and as a result of her friends betrayal, she now finds it difficult to trust people and is afraid to go out alone, for fear of being attacked again.
Earlier this year, Naomi appeared on ITV’s This Morning to tell her story. In an emotional interview, Naomi told the presenters how she feared that the person responsible would never be brought to justice.
“I was told there was no way of finding who this person was and after being questioned by the police and realising they were looking at me, trying to say that I done it to myself, I thought this is not going to happen.
‘I’m not going to sit there and let them tell me that.
‘So I decided to come on the show and let everyone know what’s happened to me and let them know that someone is out there that attacked me.”
She added, “Knowing that someone had burnt your face, literally burnt you alive, that is horrific and to look at yourself in the papers and see something else.
‘Then to be told that you’ve done this to yourself – I had no clue what was going to happen to me.
‘That should not have happened to me and I should not have been accused.
‘It was horrific. I was in hospital getting my eyelids repaired when I heard what had happened.’
When asked how her friend acted after she heard news of the attack, Naomi said, ‘I remember that she messaged me and I spoke to her in the evening and told her what happened.
‘She seemed shocked and told me she wanted to come and see me in hospital.’
‘She sat beside me and cried and everything. How do I feel about her now? I think she’s a sad person.
‘I think I will always be the person I was and no one can stop me from that.”