Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Carla Whitlock acid attack trial: Billy Midmore guilty

Billy and Geoffrey Midmore Image copyright Hampshire Constabulary
Image caption A nationwide manhunt for Billy and Geoffrey Midmore was launched in the aftermath of the attack

A drug dealer has been found guilty of taking part in a "vicious" acid attack which left a woman scarred and blind in one eye.

Carla Whitlock was attacked with drain cleaner containing sulphuric acid on 18 September last year.

Southampton Crown Court heard the acid was thrown in the 37-year-old's face after a drug deal went wrong.

Billy Midmore was convicted of causing grievous bodily harm with intent. His brother Geoffrey admitted the offence.

The pair, from London, are due to be sentenced at a later date.

Acid attack victim 'still struggling'

Image caption Carla Whitlock was attacked in Guildhall Square, Southampton, last year

Billy Midmore had denied any involvement in the attack, including being present when it was carried out, and he said the acid was bought to unblock a toilet.

However, he had admitted sending Ms Whitlock threatening texts after his brother was robbed of £2,000 worth of drugs and cash.

The mother-of-six had helped broker the deal between the brothers and a Southampton dealer.

During the trial, the jury heard Geoffrey Midmore had sent a photograph of the bottle of drain cleaner on WhatsApp to an acquaintance together with the words: "This is one face melter."

Judge Peter Ralls QC described it as an "appalling crime".

'Significant trauma'

Det Ch Insp Dave Brown, of Hampshire Constabulary, described the acid attack on Ms Whitlock, which happened outside Turtle Bay in the city's Guildhall Square, as "horrific" but also "rare".

He said she suffered "significant facial trauma and mental trauma" as well as the irreversible eye injury.

"This is an example of just how criminals will enforce debt," he said.

He added: "It is very much about exerting dominance within their peer group and they will go to no end of means in order to establish that dominance, and make sure that they can conduct their business through fear."

Image copyright Hampshire Police
Image caption Geoffrey Midmore was caught on CCTV bumping fists with a friend on a train
Image copyright Hampshire Police
Image caption The jury was shown CCTV footage of Billy Midmore giving high-fives to a friend on a train after the attack

Following the conviction, Kerry Maylin, from the Crown Prosecution Service Wessex, said the brothers "launched a vicious attack" on Ms Whitlock.

"She suffered greatly from her injuries at the time of her attack and her scars will always be a reminder of what the Midmore brothers did to her," she said.

She added: "Only an hour following the attack they could be seen on the CCTV of the train high five-ing and fist bumping. They were not sorry, they were jubilant."

The brothers were arrested in Gillingham, Kent, following a two-week nationwide manhunt.

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