‘I thought he was going to kill me’: Goodmayes woman reveals lifelong scars from acid attack during thug’s robbery rampage
PUBLISHED: 16:55 25 September 2017
These shocking pictures show a 69-year-old woman’s lifelong scars after a crack addled thug broke into her house during a robbery rampage and poured acid on her.
The victim, of Westwood Road, Goodmayes, was in bed, when Gerard Whelan broke into her home armed with a screwdriver, and doused her in what police believe was sulphuric acid.
She said she thought he was “going to kill me”, and has had almost a quarter of her skin burned off – as these shocking pictures show.
Another victim of Whelan’s rampage around Goodmayes and Ilford on December 12 and 13 last year, has said the psychological scars cause her to regularly scream in her sleep, waking up her husband and young children.
The mum-of-three, who Whelan sprayed chemicals at as he grabbed her bag, has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), usually suffered by soldiers returning from conflict.
She said most nights she cries herself to sleep.
The victims’ statements were read out in Wood Green Crown Court on Friday, before Whelan, 44, of Penfold Place, Paddington, was sentenced today.
He received 18 years imprisonment, with a further three on licence, for 12 offences committed in three days last December.
On December 13, Whelan snuck into the 69-year-old woman’s house, and woke her while she was sleeping, threatening her with a screwdriver.
“He said he would kill me if I shouted or screamed, and I was very scared,” her statement said.
“I was so scared I was crying and shaking.”
She said he took her bangles and her wedding ring off her hands, and ordered her downstairs.
When the 69-year-old saw an opportunity to escape with the back door key, she tried to run outside and lock Whelan in, however he stopped her and poured acid on her.
“He knocked me and for no reason poured liquid on me,” she said.
“I did not know what it was and I remember it began to burn.
“At this point I began to feel angry,” she continued defiantly.
“He was in my home, taking my things and he had poured liquid over me.
“I was a 69-year-old woman and he was a young man, why was he doing this to me?”
It was at this point she tried to grab the screwdriver off Whelan, and he broke her finger in the struggle.
He took her mobile phones and disconnected her landline before leaving.
Police believe the liquid Whelan used was sulphuric acid, and the victim has had 24pc of her skin burned off.
She now has trouble using her arms and has had to quit her job.
“Scars will be with me for the rest of my life,” she said.
“Why did he have to pour liquid on me? I would like him to have the maximum possible sentence.”
When jailing Whelan for 18 years, Judge Joanna Greenberg told him: “Simply put you ruined this woman’s life.”
The day before maurauding around Ilford and Goodmayes, Whelan sprayed six different people with a noxious substance and threatened them with a screwdriver, as he demanded money and the keys to people’s cars.
A mum-of-three, who had just dropped her children off at school, was his fifth victim. He grabbed her handbag as she was cleaning her car.
Whelan, who was high on crack and prescription drugs, then shouted “do you want some”, and threw a bottle at her, with liquid going in her face.
She felt the burning and stinging of her skin and left eye, and while no lasting physical damage was done, the psychological impact has been severe.
In her victim impact statement she said: “I was attacked and robbed and ever since things have not been the same and I do not feel safe.
“I’m scared and on edge. I do not want to show my emotions in front of my three children, so they see their mummy is not strong.
“I’m on edge every time I leave the house.”
The court heard she gets scared every time someone comes near her in the street.
“The other day when I was dropping the kids off at a club a man lowered his car window, probably to ask me for directions or something.
“I screamed and ran off and locked myself in my car and cried.”
She said another time when she got scared her young son had to reassure her that: “‘Everyone is safe.’”
She continued: “Most nights I cry myself to sleep. I scream in my sleep and wake up my husband and kids.”
The court heard that she “cannot see myself ever not feeling like this”.
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