London

Naomi Oni, Dagenham acid attack victim, 'wanted to die'

  • 2 February 2013
  • From the section London

A woman has said she did not want to live when she saw herself for the first time after having acid thrown in her face near her home in east London.

Naomi Oni, 20, said she was attacked by a person wearing a veil covering their face after getting off a bus in Lodge Avenue, Dagenham, on 30 December.

She said: "I've never been so scared in my life. I just knew it was acid.

"The first time I looked I was shocked. I didn't want to live after I saw my face."

Miss Oni, who worked at the Victoria's Secret lingerie store in Westfield, Stratford, is recovering after undergoing surgery for burns sustained in the attack.

'That person failed'

When she first saw herself in the mirror she said: "My head was 10 times the size, my face was black, my eyes were swollen and my eyes were cutting out.

Image caption Naomi Oni said her whole head was swollen after the attack

"I thought I was going to go blind. I was terrified."

Determined to stay positive despite her injuries, she said things could have been much worse.

"That person failed, whatever their aim was they failed.

"God has given me a life for a reason and that's what keeps me going."

She told BBC London she was making her way home from work when the attack happened at about 00:40 GMT.

"I got off the bus stop of my house and was about to cross the road, I felt a presence behind me so I decided to look back.

"I saw what seemed to be a lady wearing what I think is a hijab (sic), which was mostly black.

"I remember being startled and shocked, thinking 'I don't remember her getting off the bus with me, I didn't hear footsteps behind me'.

"The person was just staring back at me."

'Screaming hysterically'

Miss Oni said as she turned her head back she "felt something being thrown at her and felt a splash".

Image caption Miss Oni worked in Victoria's Secret in Westfield Stratford

"I ran home down the road screaming hysterically shouting on the phone to my boyfriend telling him to call 999.

"I got to my door and was shouting acid, acid, acid.

"Before I could feel it burning, I just knew it was acid, I thought OK someone is out to... kill me."

Relatives helped her flush her face with water before paramedics arrived at the house.

Miss Oni said: "I was scared, I was shaking, I've never been so scared in my life."

She has since been released from hospital having undergone skin grafts.

And she says while she feels lucky not to have been blinded, she has no idea why she was targeted.

"I have no clue why someone would do this to me.

"I still ask myself the same question every day, Why me? What have I done? I didn't understand."

The Metropolitan Police have said officers were keeping an open mind as to the motive. No arrests have been made.

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