Cheshire Man jailed after bleach attack

A young woman has been left permanently scarred after a man sprayed bleach over her and a friend.

Richard Stott, who continued with the attack despite desperate calls to stop, was today (Mon) jailed for a total of three year eight months.

Judge David Swift said: "This was on any view a dreadful incident involving the premeditated use of bleach. It was sprayed on these two women and you effectively used the bleach as a weapon and caused injury"

Judge Swift said he was satisfied 23-year-old Stott poses a high risk of harm to others but he was unable to impose an indeterminate sentence to protect the public because the criteria was not met.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that the incident happened in a park off Portia Avenue, Bebington, Wirral, about 4pm on April 18 this year.

19-year-old Leanne Rowlands and her friend, Amy Leyland, a special constable, were there as were Stott and his girlfriend, Samantha Eaton, who both knew them.
They were having a row and Stott looked over at the young women and abusively asked what they were looking at, said Simon Duncan, prosecuting.
Words were exchanged between Miss Leyland and Miss Eaton and they then walked away but Stott said to them, "Watch, just watch, we will be back in five minutes", which was taken as an obvious threat.

The couple returned five minutes later and he aggressively approached the women and picked up a bottle of Lambrini. which they had been drinking and held it over his head like a weapon.

He smashed it on the floor next to them and then took out a bottle of bleach which he had brought to the scene with him and began to spray the women despite there being lots of children around.

He squirted it from about a metre away into Leanne's face and it made contact with her friend's bare arms and soaked through her leggings.

She shouted several times for him to stop and his girlfriend also shouted the same.

Both women went to hospital and Amy was found to have chemical irritation to her arms and legs and the scorch marks took a week to heal but she was not scarred.

Leanne had very painful burns to her face, chest, arms and legs and was immediately referred to Whiston Hospital burns unit where she was detained until nearly midnight.

She had full thickness burns to her right breast measuring 10 centimetres by five centimetres, which has left her permanently scarred.  

She is self-conscious it and feels unable to wear tops which reveal the scar, said Mr Duncan.

Two days after the attack Stott rang her asking her to drop the charges. The following day he rang again and this time two police officers also heard the conversation in which he admitted throwing it but said he had not meant to burn her.

The court heard that he also contacted her via Facebook making abusive remarks.

Stott, of Seymour Drive, Ellesmere Port, pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm, assault, having an offensive weapon and witness intimidation.

The court heard that his previous convictions include an unprovoked assault on a man with a bottle and a brick, and racially aggravated threatening behaviour offences.

David Watson, defending, said that Stott, a former mechanic, did not mean to injure only spray their clothing and is remorseful.

Detective Inspector Dave McCaughrean, from Wirral CID, said: "This was a despicable and cowardly crime that caused great distress to the victims.

"While we are pleased with the sentence Stott has received our thoughts are with the victims who are scarred for life as a result of this individual.

"I urge anybody else who may be a victim of violent crime to have confidence in Merseyside Police to use all possible resources to investigate such crimes and bring the offenders to justice."