Jailed: Acid attack trio responsible for 19 robberies across north and east London
PUBLISHED: 15:13 11 September 2018 | UPDATED: 15:16 11 September 2018
A trio of robbers responsible for 19 knife and acid attacks in north and east London were jailed today for a total of more than 30 years.
Antoine Mensah, 21, Miracle Osondu, 19, and 17-year-old Mohammed Ali, who can be named after reporting restrictions on the case were lifted, used acids, alkalis and knives to steal from and maim their victims, some of whom will never recover from their injuries.
The gang robbed mini-cab drivers at knifepoint and used strong chemicals on people they had arranged to buy and sell mobile phones from on Gumtree during the 19-day crime spree between April and May this year, Wood Green Crown Court heard.
“Over the course of their offending they carried out 19 robberies, leaving victims with life-changing injuries,” said investigating officer Det Con James Rush from the Met’s Enfield Major Crime Unit.
“They also conspired to rob many more.”
The court was told how the on April 26 they committed their first offence, robbing their taxi driver in Enfield and threatening to stab him.
This escalated to physically restraining taxi drivers, who had knives brandished in front of them on two occasions, then attacks on unsuspecting online shoppers.
In one occasion on May 11, the trio arranged to meet a 40-year-old man in Barnet, pretending they were going to buy a mobile phone from him.
Instead, Osondu — of Constance Street, Royal Docks — and Mensah — of Commerce Road, Wood Green — sprayed ammonia in his face, tackled him to the ground and stole his phone, leaving him with serious eye injuries, permanent damage to his vision and ongoing psychological issues.
The following day, the trio met a 49-year-old man in Meadow Close, Barking, this time supposedly to sell him a phone.
They sprayed acid in his face before stealing cash and the contents of his wallet, then returned to douse him again before making off.
The victim lost most of his sight in one eye and suffered life-changing injuries, forcing him to leave his job.
“Even after I gave them what was in my pockets, they kept pouring acid over me, just because they could,” said one victim, who also sustained life-changing injuries.
“When I looked in the mirror and saw my injuries for the first time, I felt like I had become a zombie in just two hours. They could have taken my money or physical possessions if they had just threatened me, I wouldn’t have fought back because they’re just possessions.”
Officers on May 14 tracked the suspects to a taxi travelling from Enfield to Ilford en-route to commit another robbery. Armed officers helped stop the vehicle in Mortlake Road, where Mensah, Osondu and Ali were found in possession of a bottle of high-strength acid, a 22cm-long knife, nearly £2,000 in cash, balaclavas and mobile phones.
They were taken into custody where they gave no comment interviews.
Osondu was jailed for 11 years, extended to 15 years, after pleading guilty to a conspiracy to rob comprising 19 counts of robbery as well as a planned robbery, possession of an offensive weapon and possession of a bladed article. A separate charge of theft from last year will remain on file.
He will serve at least seven years and four months in prison.
Ali, of Ilford, pleaded guilty to the same charges and was sentenced to eight years, extended to 12, in prison. The teenager will serve a minimum of five years and four months behind bars.
Mensah, meanwhile, received 13 years, extended to 17 years, after also pleading guilty to six counts of assault in an unrelated case. He will serve a minimum of eight years and eight months in jail.
“They are dangerous individuals and these lengthy prison sentences are the only way to ensure the public are kept safe,” added Det Con Rush.
“Their behaviour is truly shocking. I commend the bravery of all the victims and witnesses who provided the evidence to help secure these convictions.
“I would also commend the efforts and teamwork of the many officers across multiple units whose work contributed to this excellent result.”