Journalist writes book after suffering acid attack

17 February 2018, 08:26

Acid Attack

An investigative journalist who had acid sulphuric acid thrown in his face in an attack on his doorstep has written a book about the experience.

Russell Findlay, 45, was attacked after opening his door to a man disguised as a postman while his 10-year-old daughter slept upstairs just before Christmas in December 2015.

The crime writer overpowered William Burns with the help of neighbours and his attacker was arrested at the scene.

Burns, 57, was jailed for 10 years and five years on licence in July 2017 after being found guilty of assault to severe injury and danger of life following a trial at the High Court in Glasgow. He had denied the assault.

Mr Findlay also reveals Burns was on early release from a 15 year sentence for the second time when the attack happened in Glasgow in December 2015.

The Parole Board for Scotland said it does not comment on individual cases.

In his book Acid Attack: A Journalist's War With Organised Crime, published on Saturday by Birlinn, Mr Findlay describes his investigation into who was behind the incident.

The freelance writer, who was investigations editor of The Scottish Sun at the time, names the man who he believes ordered the attack to be carried out.

He also writes of his frustration that the man has never been brought to justice, though he says he has passed the information to police and prosecutors.

He said: "I've got no quarrel with the police officers who dealt with the case. But I think someone somewhere made the decision that was as far as they were going to take it.

"They had someone in custody, it was a fairly open and shut case, but it does raise questions about why that happened.

"Given that we're talking about organised crime and a free press and given that acid was used at a family home I think these factors ought to have made the police more interested in looking behind William Burns."

A Police Scotland spokesman said: "A full investigation was carried out which resulted in the conviction of William Burns last year for assault."

A Crown Office spokesman said: "Careful consideration will be given to any reports of alleged criminal conduct which are submitted by the police, or any specialist reporting agency, to the Procurator Fiscal.

"Criminal proceedings will be raised if the reports contain sufficient evidence of a crime and if it is appropriate and in the public interest to do so."

Mr Findlay was left fearing for the sight of his right eye following the attack but has since made a full recovery.

He said the experience has not deterred him from writing about crime, adding: "I'm not going to go away.

"I'm not reckless or cavalier but what happened was pretty extraordinary and I think that the book is a way of countering that, a way of saying this is where it came from, this is the background and I'm not going to go away."