Acid attack victim supports review of sentencing

Acid attack victim supports review of sentencing

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When I met Tara Quigley at her home, she was recovering after undergoing her 15th operation to repair damage to her skin following an acid attack more than four years ago.

She considers herself one of the lucky ones. Her face has healed well – the scarring on her neck is taking longer to fix.

She told me about the moment of the attack.

“I heard a random knock at my door and a young boy was there. He asked if Michelle lived at the address. I told him no one under that name lived there, so he left.

“He came back about five minutes later and as soon as I opened my front door he just threw a bottle of acid at me, didn’t say a word and just ran off.”

:: Acid attack offenders ‘could face life sentences’

Just what do you do when acid has been poured over your head and body?

Tara said: “Almost straight away I knew it was acid because my skin was bubbling on my chest and the pain was excruciating. I just knew I had to get to water.

“I ran to my kitchen, washed my face and then my sister took me upstairs – luckily she had just had a bath – and I plunged myself into her bath and straight away we called the ambulance.”

Talking to Tara, you get a sense of just how damaging even the smallest amount of acid can be.

One of her dogs, who rushed to the door with her, was blinded after being splashed with acid during the attack.

Part of the radiator by the front door and clothes hanging nearby melted.

The boy found guilty of the attack – who was 15 years old at the time – is still in prison.

The attack took just seconds, but as well the physical scars, Tara has been left with mental health problems and has received counselling.

“I don’t go out anymore, I kind of stay at home,” she said.

“The anxiety when I do go out is so overwhelming that generally I get 10 minutes down the road and I just come home because I just can’t handle it, to be honest. I constantly look over my shoulder.

“I cry over it. I have nightmares. I think about it every time I look in the mirror and see my neck. My family were affected by it, mentally. Every time there’s a new case on the news, it kind of brings it all back to me. You just relive it, constantly.”

Tara welcomes news that the Government is reviewing sentencing for acid attacks and rules surrounding the purchase of such dangerous products.

:: Acid attack offenders ‘could face life sentences’ in new crackdown

She told Sky News: “I believe it should carry a life sentence because of the effect it has on the victims. With this (her injuries) it’s such a slow, slow road to recovery.

“The constant operations, the constant reliving of going back to the hospitals – their lives should be affected as much as ours are.

“Because something has to be done about it. It’s gone way to far now.”

Sarah Newton, minister for crime, safeguarding and vulnerability, will outline the Government’s strategy on combating acid attacks in the Commons today.

(c) Sky News 2017: Acid attack victim supports review of sentencing