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Summary

  1. Billy and Geoffrey Midmore jailed for acid attack in Southampton
  2. Billy gets 15 years in prison while his brother is jailed for nine years
  3. The pair were convicted of throwing acid in Carla Whitlock's face
  4. Geoffrey, 27, admitted GBH with intent while Billy, 23, was found guilty
  5. Mother-of-six Carla Whitlock was left blind in one eye following the attack last year

Live Reporting

By Marcus White

All times stated are UK

'Committed to stamping out incidents like this'

Police committed to pursuing acid attack brothers

Chief Inspector Debra Masson said: “Acid attacks in Hampshire are thankfully very rare. The level of injury caused by such an attack is life-changing, and I know that Carla still faces many challenges, alongside the permanent loss of sight in one of her eyes, due to this barbaric act.

“This was a premeditated assault carried out by two men of violence who regularly came to Hampshire to pursue a criminal enterprise, and make people’s lives a misery.

“The evidence shown in court of their behaviour directly after the attack, coupled with their concerted efforts to evade capture, served to expose them as the dangerous criminals they are.

“Although things will never be the same for Carla, we hope that the sentence handed to Geoffrey and Billy Midmore today goes some way to giving her closure and allows her to feel that justice has been delivered.” 

'It's quite a sad life'

Victim Carla Whitlock spoke to the BBC following Billy Midmore's conviction. This is what she had to say.

Acid attack victim left with 'sad life'

Brothers jailed

Billy Midmore, 23, has been sentenced to 15 years in prison, of which he will serve at least 10 years. He has also been given five further years on licence. 

Geoffrey Midmore, 27, has been sentenced to nine years in prison, and will serve at least half of that. When he is released, he will also be on licence and subject to supervision.

Billy and Geoffrey Midmore
Hampshire Constabulary
Billy and Geoffrey Midmore

BreakingGeoffrey sentenced

Judge tells Geoffrey Midmore: "You were the follower but you threw the acid. You decanted acid into a plain bottle then went back out no doubt hoping to bump into Carla. You pleaded guilty, expressed remorse."

Geoffrey is sentenced to nine years in prison. 

Geoffrey impassive. Stares at brother. No conversation between them.

Breaking'You are dangerous'

The judge tells Billy Midmore: "You are dangerous and the public needs to be protected."

He is sentenced to 15 years in addition to supervision on license for five years. He is told he will serve at least two thirds of the sentence.

Billy Midmore laughs.

A predilection for violence

"Billy has a predilection for violence to get his way," says the judge.

"In this case you were more the leader than the follower. It was your drugs business and you made the threat to Carla. 

"I have read your pre-sentence report where you said 'I love violence in every form'."

Judge's remarks continue

"I bear in mind Geoffrey's remorse, but it can't overlook the fact you got into easy money of drug dealing." 

'A higher level of culpability'

"Billy sent Carla a text message saying she was 'dead' as a threat. 

"You bought the drain cleaner because you intended to pour it in her face. 

"To describe it as the 'face melter' could only have one interpretation. This is a category one offence, involving a higher level of culpability."

'Medieval barbarism'

The judge continues: 

"The doctors' swift action was important in saving some of Carla's sight. 

"She will have to live with consequences for the rest of her life.

"The psychological damage is difficult to assess. Your behaviour displays a level of medieval barbarism that is appalling. 

"You used a weapon that was pernicious and evil. You planned for this which adds to the culpability."

BreakingJudge remarks

The judge addresses the brothers.

"The drugs trade frequently involves threats of violence. This was a cruel and calculated attack intended to cause serious injury and disfigurement. It was a punishment attack. 

"Carla was left blinded in one eye with her remaining vision damage. Her eyelids don't close properly so she will probably suffer recurring infection."

Defence speeches concluded

The defence speeches have finished, and the judge is beginning to speak.

Uncontrollable weeping

In police interviews, Billy smiled and laughed throughout, while Geoffrey broke down, weeping uncontrollably, saying "I can't believe what I have done to a woman", when he first met his barrister, the court hears/

Geoffrey appears impassive in the dock, his hands clasped in front of his mouth.

'Mad, bad, sad thing'

When he discovered through social media he might have blinded Carla, Geoffrey began to struggle, says his defence barrister.

"I've done a mad bad sad thing...what have I done" Geoffrey wrote on Facebook.

Toes curl

Mr Pawson continues: "Remorse is a word that trips off barristers' lips. But Geoffrey can be shown to have felt genuine empathy and bitter regret for the consequences to his victim. 

"There are photos which make one's toes curl of fist bumping and high fives. At that point he had no idea of the gravity of the injury he had just caused."

'More of a follower'

Geoffrey is "more of a follower than a leader," claims his defence. 

"He was told by his brother to say nothing and the result of his heinous behaviour went beyond his intention. He did not think he would blind another human being," it is added.

Geoffrey's defence begins

Rob Pawson, defending for older brother, Geoffrey, said: "However ghastly this almost unspeakable offence is, it his wholly out of character. 

"His only previous conviction travelling on train without a ticket. A devoted family man, he lost his job 2014 and has coached a children's football team. 

He has a son aged six-years-old and pursued contact with him despite break-up with partner, pursuing access through the courts."

'Plan for the future'

Billy Midmore's barrister is pleading for a determinate sentence, so his client can plan for the future.

Let out 'by mistake'

High Down prison let Billy Midmore out by mistake, it is claimed.

"He could have disappeared but he didn't, he attended a probation appointment and was arrested the following day which is to his credit," says his defence barrister.

Billy Midmore's defence continues

Mr Ruffell says offending started when Billy was just 13 years-old. 

When aged 16, in 2010, he was put in custody and was 'effectively' in custody for four-and-a-half years until age of 21. 

The effect on his outlook and his "ineptness" in understanding the human condition is because of custody, claims the defence barrister. 

Mr Ruffell said: "[Billy] tells me he is tired of what he has been involved in."

Life sentence rejected

The judge has ruled out a life sentence for Billy Midmore, whose defence barrister, Mark Ruffell, is now addressing the court.

He says Mr Midmore "has allowed his temper to get the better of him in the past".

He says the meeting with Ms Whitlock was by "chance" - the brothers were not going out to find her.

Nine to 16 years

Prosecution says Billy is facing between nine and 16 years in prison.

Face in hands

Billy Midmore holds his face in hands but is apparently unmoved as he listens to details of his criminal past. 

The court hears he assaulted two prison officers at Rochester jail. He punched the officers twice. 

Billy's conviction history continues

In 2010, he was sentenced to 54 months in detention at a young offenders institution for robbery, possessing an imitation firearm.

He was also involved in a gunpoint robbery at address in New Malden, which had three victims. 

Billy Midmore approached the three victims in a cul-de-sac, drew the weapon and demanded cash and property. 

Billy held the imitation gun to one victim's neck saying he would shoot one of the other men if victim didn't go home and bring back cash. 

Police recovered a BB gun later.

Billy Midmore's conviction history

In May 2007, a robbery was his "first serious offence" and during that year he also had burglary, criminal damage, possessing a blade, motor vehicle offences.

In 2008, he was convicted of battery, two accounts of robbery, getting his first sentence of detention - four months.

Prosecution gives history of brothers

Geoffrey Midmore has one minor conviction, while younger brother, Billy, has 26 convictions since 2006, for 52 offences.

Victim's statement

Given in October, shortly after the attack, Carla Whitlock gave a statement about her ordeal to police.

At the time, she had had one operation and although she could then see through her left eye but blurry, like a smoky room, with no sight in the right one.

Daylight hurt her eyes and she said she couldn't watch television. 

She described herself as "jumpy all the time".

In short she couldn't see, was frightened and her partner had to deal with everything. She felt like a prisoner in her own room, and she didn't want to see her children and have to explain her appearance.

'My face was on fire'

Giving evidence at Billy Midmore's trial, Carla Whitlock said: "I felt my face was on fire.

"I tried to get help from two ladies, I couldn't see, I reached my way to the bouncer and said 'Help me'".

More medical evidence

Ms Whitlock's condition entails "chronic discomfort" says the medical expert. 

Her eye is prone to "breakdown and infection" in the future, says the doctor.

Extent of injuries suffered

A consultant who examined Carla Whitlock said she was in "significant pain" following the attack.

There was a significant loss of sight in one eye - the cornea of the right eye had gone white and opaque. 

Immediate surgery was needed, requiring a membrane graft. She was then treated for facial burns.

The long term prognosis is sight is unlikely to return in her right eye.

Arrested in Kent

The brothers went on the train to stay overnight in Basingstoke. 

They bought new clothes there before returning to Southampton for a short period. 

They were arrested on 29 September, at an address in Gillingham in Kent, following a police appeal for information and help in tracking the pair down. 

Brothers 'high-fiving' after the attack

This CCTV from a train after the attack shows Billy Midmore giving a high-five, just hours after the incident in Southampton's Guildhall Square.

Brothers high-fiving after acid attack

Prosecution continues

The brothers bought the acid from Plumbase in the Millbrook area of Southampton on the day of the attack.

They went by taxi to addresses in Southampton that afternoon, before the attack in the evening.

The Midmore brothers in a taxi
Hampshire Constabulary

Prosecution statement

The crown prosecutor Kerry Maylin is making her opening remarks.

She says the brothers stayed in a variety of addresses last autumn while they dealt drugs in Southampton.

Carla and her partner were clients. Th court hears it is not clear how the drug deal went wrong, but the brothers lost about £2,000. 

Billy and a Carla exchanged phone calls as a result.

Help from the public

After the attack in Southampton's Guildhall Square, staff and customers from the Turtle Bay restaurant ran to Ms Whitlock's aid.

The scene of the acid attack in Southampton's Guildhall Square
BBC
Guildhall Square in Southampton

Billy Midmore smiling in court

Billy Midmore continues to smile as the judge makes his opening remarks.

Geoffrey Midmore is more impassive.

One Shot drain cleaner

This is an image of the drain cleaner taken by the Midmores and shown during the trial.

Drain cleaner
Hampshire Constabulary

Judge continues

The brothers bought a drain cleaner called One Shot which they described as a "face melter". 

Geoffrey Midmore threw the acid in Carla Whitlock's face, leaving her blind in one eye. 

The pair then went on the run.

Judge's opening remarks

The Midmore brothers are drug dealers from London, says the judge, while Ms Whitlock is an addict who would buy drugs from them from time-to-time.

The brothers were robbed of drugs and £2,000 and blamed Ms Whitlock for "setting them up".

Brothers in court

Geoffrey Midmore is dressed formally in a shirt and tie. He occasionally looks down at his lap as the judge makes his opening remarks.

His younger brother. Billy, is more casually dressed in a striped shirt and smiles occasionally