Ferne McCann's ex-boyfriend Arthur Collins found guilty of acid attack at London nightclub

 The 25-year-old was convicted of five counts of grievous bodily harm with intent and nine counts of actual bodily harm against 14 people

Tess de La Mare
Monday 13 November 2017 15:41
Police release CCTV of Ferne McCann's ex-boyfiend Arthur Collins acid attack in night club

Arthur Collins, the ex-boyfriend of reality TV star Ferne McCann has been found guilty of an acid attack in a London nightclub.

The father of The Only Way Is Essex star's newborn daughter hurled the substance over a crowd at Mangle on 17 April, Wood Green Crown Court heard.

The 25-year-old, from Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, was convicted of five counts of grievous bodily harm with intent, and nine counts of actual bodily harm against 14 people.

His co-defendant, Andre Phoenix, 21, from north London had earlier been acquitted of four counts of grievous bodily harm and two of actual bodily harm.

Collins admitted throwing the bottle of fluid over clubbers but said he did not know it was acid. He said he thought the liquid was a date rape drug, which he had snatched from two men after overhearing them planning to spike a girl's drink.

There were tears in the public gallery, which was packed with Collins's friends and family, as the jury's verdicts were read out.

He was convicted on all counts on a majority verdict of 10 to two and will be sentenced on 19 December.

More than a dozen people were injured when acid was thrown over the dancefloor, which was packed with bank holiday revellers.

Collins said he had been out celebrating the news of McCann's pregnancy, which they had announced to her family the previous day.

CCTV showed him and Mr Phoenix arriving at the club at about 9pm before getting into a confrontation with a group of men around four hours later.

At around 1am people were seen clutching their faces and running off the dancefloor after Collins doused them with a liquid. Clubbers dropped to their knees, shielded their faces with clothing, and rubbed ice on blistered skin after the attack.

The substance was later found to have a rating of pH1 - indicating a strong acid. Victims described a burning smell and their skin "blistering straight away" before everyone started "screaming, shouting, running".

Collins and Mr Phoenix were identified from the CCTV footage, in which Collins could be seen wearing a T-shirt with the word "killer" written on it.

Mr Phoenix was arrested on 21 April but Collins was not apprehended until a few days later. He was Tasered as he was seized by armed police after trying to flee from an upstairs window of a house in Highham Ferrers, Northamptonshire.

He has a previous conviction for actual bodily harm in December 2015 after punching another man in the face in another nightclub attack.

Collins told the jury that he had been in a serious relationship with Ms McCann for around a year at the time of the incident, and had found out she was pregnant just weeks earlier.

"It was the happiest I have ever felt. We were both really happy," he said. He did not hand himself in to police because he feared Ms McCann would be targeted by gang members if he did, he added.

Press Association