Acid attacker jailed for 30 years

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The Independent Online

The brother of a married woman who poured concentrated acid over his sister’s lover in an attempted “honour killing” has been jailed for 30 years.

Mohammed Vakas, 26, left Awais Akram horrifically disfigured and in need of constant medical treatment following the attack last year in Leytonstone, east London.

Mr Akram was having an affair with Vakas’ sister Sadia Khatoon after the couple met on Facebook. The court heard how Mrs Khatoon’s husband, Shakeel Abassi, decided that the family’s reputation “could only be salvaged in one irreversible way” once he found out about the affair. He then conspired with Vakas to kill Mr Akram and flee to Pakistan.

In a horrific attack Vakas used his sister to lure Mr Akram out of his flat and then attacked him with two other conspirators, Mohammed Adeel, 20, and17-year-old Fabion Kuci. After they had beaten and stabbed Mr Akram, Vakas poured drain cleaner over him. Adeel and Kuci have been sentenced to 14 years and 8 years respectively for conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm.

The Danish-born Muslim had come to the UK to study and suffered 47 per cent burns in the attack. He has since needed four skin grafts and blood transfusions to survive, and was left, according to one witness, looking “like a cross between a zombie from a horror movie and the incredible hulk”.

Shakeel Abassi and his wife fled to Pakistan on the same day of the attack. Mrs Khatoon returned to the UK voluntarily but fled once more overseas. She was initially treated as a witness but has since come to be regarded by police as a possible suspect.

Police have also indicated that they fear Mrs Khatoon may have been killed in Pakistan. Her family claim to no longer be in contact with her or know her whereabouts. Extraditing suspects from Pakistan is extremely difficult, despite the fact that so-called “honour killers” have regularly fled there to escape justice.

Judge Brian Barker, the Common Serjeant of London, said there was nothing honourable about Vakas’ and his co-conspirators’ actions. "This was a terrible crime and all right-thinking citizens reject the premise on which it was done,” he said. “There is no honour, and plots and actions such as this have no place in our society."