Birmingham & Black Country

Mohammed Rafiq, 80, jailed for acid revenge attack on teen ex

Mohammed Rafiq, Steven Holmes and Shannon Heaps Image copyright West Midlands Police
Image caption Mohammed Rafiq, Steven Holmes and Shannon Heaps had denied plotting to harm Ms Horsman

An 80-year-old man has been jailed for 18 years for masterminding an acid revenge attack on his teenage ex-girlfriend.

Mohammed Rafiq was convicted on 12 December of inflicting grievous bodily harm on Vikki Horsman, 20.

Ms Horsman was left scarred by the attack in April, when she was 19.

Rafiq, of Cheshire Road, Smethwick, paid two men £50 to attack her after she ended their relationship, Wolverhampton Crown Court heard.

Shannon Heaps, 23, and Steven Holmes, 25, were found guilty of plotting to attack Ms Horsman at her friend's house in Tividale, West Midlands.

They were jailed for 12 and 14 years respectively. Both laughed when they heard the sentence and Heaps punched the air.

Holmes threw the acid and Heaps, who was at the door, was the one who put Rafiq and Holmes in touch with each other, the court heard.

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Media captionDet Con Jason Moseley from West Midlands Police said Ms Horsman is pleased with the sentences

During the trial, the court heard Ms Horsman had entered into a relationship with "controlling" Rafiq when she was 18.

He became angered when the care worker broke up with him, and arranged for Heaps and Holmes to attack her with the corrosive liquid.

On 15 April, she opened the door of the house and was met by a hooded figure who threw acid in her face.

She suffered "horrific" burns as a result, requiring specialist surgery to her face, neck, shoulders, and upper leg, police said.

They said Rafiq, who himself suffered minor burns when he was splashed with liquid, was initially treated as a victim but later charged.

Image caption Vikki Horsman required surgery and suffered extensive scarring
Image caption Vikki Horsman was attacked at a house in Tividale, West Midlands

Rafiq and Heaps, of Queens Avenue, Tividale, and Holmes, of Allan Close, Smethwick, were found guilty of causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

Heaps was given his sentence for his role in pointing out the property where the doorstep attack took place.

He punched the air when he was sentenced while another defendant imitated throwing acid.

Holmes was given an 18-year sentence, comprising 14 years in jail and four years on extended license.

A fourth defendant, Ceri Parkes, 26, of Smethwick, Ms Horsman's half-sister, was given 12 months on Friday after she admitted in July perverting the course of justice.

Her actions led to three people being wrongfully arrested for the attack.

'Cold and callous'

The elderly man was also convicted of a further charge of perverting the course of justice.

In an interview with the BBC, Ms Horsman told how she had been left with "life-changing" injuries.

Investigating officer Det Con Jason Moseley said the case had been "horrifying and complex" and "centred around a controlling relationship".

"Rafiq's young ex-partner was seriously injured and left with devastating, lasting scars, which one can only presume was his intent given the nature of the planned attack," he said.

He said Ms Horsman was pleased with the sentences which reflected the "cold and callous" way the attack was planned by Rafiq and "his cronies"

Judge Nicholas Webb described the premeditated attack as "wicked" and Rafiq as "cruel as vengeful". He said the nature of attack was designed to degrade Ms Horsman.

Passing sentence, the judge told Rafiq, Heaps and Holmes: "Acid attacks are not uncommon in certain parts of the world.

"Thankfully, they are rare in England. Quite often they are to punish a woman who has refused to bow to the demands of a spouse.

"In such cases it is done to leave a permanent reminder of what happens when a woman rejects attempts to control her."

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