Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Man loses court appeals over Southampton acid attack

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

One of two brothers, jailed for an acid attack which left a woman scarred and blind in one eye, has lost his appeals against both conviction and sentence.

Billy Midmore, 23, was found guilty by a jury in 2016 of attacking Carla Whitlock in a Southampton street.

He was jailed for 15 years with five years extended licence for causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

Lord Chief Justice, Lord Thomas, said Midmore had an "appalling" record and the sentence was "not excessive".

Image caption Carla Whitlock was attacked in Guildhall Square, Southampton

Ms Whitlock, a mother-of-six, was sprayed with drain cleaner containing sulphuric acid in Guildhall Square in September 2015.

Train CCTV showed Midmore giving a high-five and fist-bumping a friend hours later.

The trial at Southampton Crown Court heard the attack happened after Ms Whitlock brokered a drug deal which went wrong.

Midmore's brother Geoffrey, 27, was robbed of drugs and cash worth £2,000.

On the morning the acid was bought, Geoffrey Midmore sent a message to his girlfriend saying: " It's cool though - I know who robbed me and set it up."

Later that day, he messaged a photograph of the drain cleaner, with the words: "This is the one face melter".

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Media captionTrain CCTV showed Billy Midmore apparently celebrating after the attack

At the appeal, Billy Midmore's barrister argued the later message was hearsay evidence and should not have been admissible at the trial.

The barrister, Mark Ruffell, also argued Billy Midmore should have had a chance at his trial to question his brother about the message and why he sent it.

The Crown had argued the brothers, from London, bought the acid together and the attack was a joint enterprise.

Image caption In April 2016, Carla Whitlock said she had not yet come to terms with the attack

Lord Thomas said the sentence handed to Billy Midmore was "not excessive or wrong in principle" in view of the defendant's "appalling list of previous convictions".

He said he would explain his decision to refuse the appeal against conviction at a later date.

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