London woman left disfigured by shocking random acid attack by mystery woman in niqab as she walked home from work at Victoria's Secret

20-year-old victim releases shocking images of injuries in an appeal to catch attacker

A young woman has been left severely scarred and partially blind after acid was thrown in her face in a seeming random late-night attack.

Naomi Oni, 20, was on her way home from work to her home in Dagenham, East London, on 30 December when an anonymous attacker, wearing a niqab, threw the corrosive liquid at her, leaving her with serious burns on her head, neck, arms, legs and body.

She has now released the shocking images above to the Evening Standard in a hope that they may help track her attacker, whose face was obscured by the traditional Muslim women's dress, which completely covers the face apart from the eyes.

Ms Oni had been five minutes from her home in Dagenham after finishing work for the day at lingerie store Victoria's Secret at Westfield Stratford.

She has since undergone a month's treatment, undergoing skin grafts in Chelmsford's Broomsfield Hospital, where doctors initially warned her that she may not be able to see again. She can now see out of her left eye but still only has partial vision in her right.

Ms Oni, who is the sole carer for her 52-year-old disabled mother Marian Yalekhue, made the decision to speak out in the Standard after police failed to establish a motive for the attack.

Speaking exclusively to the newspaper she said the attack had “destroyed” her life and left her too afraid to venture out or even show her face in public.

“I look in the mirror and it just isn’t me. I’ll never look the same again. I’ve always been outgoing and confident in my job and in my personal life, used to getting attention for the way I dress or my hair, but now I don’t want anyone looking at me.

“I don’t want people to see me in public. I don’t want to get the Tube or the bus. If I have to go to the hospital I take a taxi. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to go back to my job. I was planning to go to college in September to study media and fashion, but I don’t even know if I’ll be able to do that,” said Ms Oni.

The store assistant had just got off the bus and was talking to her boyfriend Ato Owede, 23, on her phone when she felt someone walking behind her in Lodge Avenue in Dagenham at around 12.40am.

She said:“I’d been working a late shift and was talking to my boyfriend about what we were going to do for New Year when I saw this Muslim woman wearing a niqab covering her face. I thought it was a bit strange at that time of night, but she didn’t say anything and I kept on walking.

“Then I felt a splash on my face. It burned and I screamed out. I started running and screaming, holding my face, all the way home. I didn’t look back.

“I got home and I was screaming and banging on the door. I was hysterical. Luckily my godmother, who is a pharmacist, was at home with my mum and she helped me and kept dipping my face in water and trying to calm me down until the police and ambulance got there. I was in shock. Saying: ‘Who would do that? Who would do that?’ How could anyone do this?”

Ms Oni faces months if not years of skin grafts and further plastic surgery and even then is likely to be left with severe facial scarring, according to doctors.

The retail assistant and her mother are too afraid to return to their flat and are currently sleeping on a friend’s sofa-bed after turning down the offer to be rehoused in Tottenham on safety grounds.

Ms Oni said she had been inspired by the story of Katie Piper, the model who launched a charity and spoke out publicly after falling victim to an acid attack orchestrated by her boyfriend, but that she would never feel safe with her attacker still at large.

“Even with the support of my family and friends and boyfriend I feel very alone. Nothing is going to be same anymore,” said Ms Oni.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said acid attacks were “extremely rare” and that detectives were keeping an “open mind as to the motive.”

Officers from Barking and Dagenham are investigating. No arrests have been made and inquiries are ongoing.

Anyone with information should contact police on 0203 276 1058 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Voices
Ukip leader Nigel Farage arrives at the Rochester by-election count
voicesIs it any wonder that Thornberry, Miliband, and Cameron have no idea about ordinary everyday life?
Life and Style
tech
News
i100BBC political editor Nick Robinson had a lot of explaining to do
Life and Style
Nappies could have advice on them to encourage mothers and fathers to talk to their babies more often
newsTalking to babies can improve their language and vocabulary skills
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

US immigration: President Obama ready to press ahead with long-promised plan to overhaul 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?

Immigration: Obama's final frontier

The President is ready to press ahead with the long-promised plan to overhaul America's 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?
Bill Cosby rape allegations explained: Why are these allegations coming out now? Why didn’t these women come forward earlier? And why has nobody taken legal action?

Bill Cosby rape allegations explained

Why are these allegations coming out now? Why has nobody taken legal action? And what happens next for the man once thought of as 'America's Dad'
Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain

You know that headache you’ve got?

Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain
Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?

Scoot commute

Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?
Paul Robeson: The story of how an American icon was driven to death to be told in film

The Paul Robeson story

How an American icon was driven to death to be told in film
10 best satellite navigation systems

Never get lost again: 10 best satellite navigation systems

Keep your vehicle going in the right direction with a clever device
Paul Scholes column: England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil

Paul Scholes column

England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil
Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win says defender as he prepares to return with Hull

Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win

Hull defender faces his struggling former club on Sunday ready to show what they are missing. But he says he will always be grateful to Tottenham
Frank Warren column: Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game

Frank Warren column

Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game
Synagogue attack: Fear unites both sides of Jerusalem as minister warns restoring quiet could take 'months'

Terror unites Jerusalem after synagogue attack

Rising violence and increased police patrols have left residents of all faiths looking over their shoulders
Medecins sans Frontieres: The Ebola crisis has them in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa

'How do you carry on? You have to...'

The Ebola crisis has Medecins sans Frontieres in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa
Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Residents in what was Iraq’s safest city fear an increase in jihadist attacks, reports Patrick Cockburn
Underwater photography competition winners 2014 - in pictures

'Mysterious and inviting' shot of diver wins photography competition

Stunning image of cenote in Mexico takes top prize
Sir John Major: Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting

Sir John Major hits out at theatres

Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting
Kicking Barbie's butt: How the growth of 3D printing enabled me to make an army of custom-made figurines

Kicking Barbie's butt

How the growth of 3D printing enabled toy-designer to make an army of custom-made figurines