Arthur Collins given longer sentence for smuggling phone into jail

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Image source, PA
Image caption,
Arthur Collins admitted one charge of possessing a prohibited item while in prison

A man jailed for throwing acid across a packed nightclub has been sentenced to a further eight months for using a smuggled mobile phone while in prison.

Arthur Collins, 25, hid the Nokia phone in a crutch and used it to call his reality TV star ex-girlfriend Ferne McCann from his cell at HMP Thameside.

He was handed the eight-month sentence at Woolwich Crown Court on Wednesday.

Collins injured 22 people by throwing acid across a London nightclub and was jailed for 20 years in December.

Later that month, he admitted one charge of possessing a prohibited item while in prison.

The eight-month prison term, consecutive to Collins' current sentence, will add an extra four months on to his earliest release date, meaning he will serve at least 13 years and eight months.

Collins hid the phone, two Sim cards and two memory sticks in the crutch while awaiting trial over the acid attack, which left 16 people with chemical burns and three people temporarily blinded.

He claimed he had used the device to make private calls to then pregnant Ms McCann, who gave birth to their baby daughter Sunday in November.

Image source, Julia Quenzler
Image caption,
Arthur Collins (right) previously appeared in court in crutches with co-accused Andre Phoenix who was cleared over the acid attack

His barrister Rebecca Randall said: "His girlfriend at the time was heavily pregnant with his first child.

"That child is now two months old and occasionally visits him with its mother and his sister."

Prosecutor Arizuna Asante told the court that an analysis of the device confirmed Collins used it to contact his family and friends.

Sentencing, Judge Nicholas Heathcote Williams said: "The presence of a mobile phone or component part such as a Sim card has many implications, not only for the prison establishment, but also the wider environment.

"It provides a prisoner or prisoners with an opportunity to communicate they would otherwise not have.

"This therefore allows them to act in a way prison is supposed to prevent them from doing."

The court heard the items were found on 10 September when a prison officer removed the rubber stopper from the bottom of the crutch in his private shower during a cell search.

Collins, from Broxbourne in Hertfordshire, was injured trying to evade police while on the run for the acid attack in Mangle E8 in Dalston.

He took part in the hearing via video link from the high-security Belmarsh Prison and showed no emotion as he was sentenced.

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