`Obsessed husband behind acid attack'

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An obsessed husband arranged to have concentrated nitric acid thrown in the face of his estranged wife - only for the teenage baby-sitter to be scarred by mistake, a court was told yesterday.

Beverley Hammett, 21, her face still bearing the scars of the attack, told the jury how she felt a "burning sensation" after opening the front door on hearing a noise outside the house.

The woman said by the prosecution to have been the real target of the attack, 37-year-old Susan Humphrey, told Exeter Crown Court that she could not believe the sight of the baby sitter's face - "I will never forget it. I could not believe someone could do something like this," she said.

Her estranged husband, Peter Humphrey, 51, from Axminster, Devon, pleaded not guilty to two charges of aiding and abetting a person or persons unknown to cause grievous bodily harm on 10 July 1996.

The court was told that Mr Humphrey was so "consumed by jealousy" at the breakdown of his marriage that he "caused or helped" another person - who has not been traced - to hurl acid into the face of his estranged wife.

The trial was adjourned until today.