Teen who threw bleach in young model’s face gets 27 months

NewsBy Sunday World
Rebecca Morris
Rebecca Morris

A teenager who threw bleach in the face of a young model in a "spiteful and vengeful act" has been sentenced to 27 months in a young offenders institution.

Rebecca Morris, 18, lured 17-year-old Victoria Smith to a house party in Hull and threw the substance into her eyes, mouth and hair, leaving her temporarily blinded.

The attack "seriously exacerbated" Ms Smith's mental health problems and she attempted to commit suicide two months later, the court had been told.

The teenage model was left with possible permanent damage to her eyesight and now wears a wig because of the effect of the bleach on her hair.

Judge David Tremberg, sentencing Morris at Hull Crown Court, said: "This was an assault which was unprovoked and premeditated. It was a spiteful and vengeful act."

Judge Tremberg continued: "The emotional harm that you have caused has been grave."

"While the court should be careful not to lay all of the complainant's emotional problems at your door, I find to the criminal standard that what you did has, at very least, seriously exacerbated her pre-existing problems such as to transform her from a person who had, prior to the offence, been able to cope with her difficulties and continue to enjoy an acceptable quality of life to somebody who is currently unable to do so."

The court heard there was history of ill-feeling between the two teenagers.

On the night of the attack, in August last year, Morris believed Ms Smith had been involved in her exclusion from college.

Judge Tremberg said: "It seems clear that you bore her no goodwill. On occasions prior to the date of the offence, you had threatened to throw bleach in her face."

He added: "You were clearly intent upon making good on your threat to throw such a harmful substance in her face. When you got to her, that is precisely what you did.

"The bleach that you threw went in her hair, into both of her eyes and into her mouth."

The court heard previously that Morris shouted: "There's your shot of bleach instead of your shot of vodka. That's for getting me kicked out of college" as she threw the small cup of bleach at Ms Smith.

The victim, who uses the modelling name Toria Melody, went to hospital, where she was prescribed eye-drops, and now suffers from chronic dry eye problems and blurring of vision.

Judge Tremberg said it was too early to say if the condition will be permanent.

But he said the damage could have been worse if not for the "quick-thinking" of a friend who immediately washed out Ms Smith's eyes with a soft drink.

The judge described Ms Smith as a "young person of fragile mental health" who had received treatment for depression and obsessive compulsive disorder in the past but managed to "live a fulfilling life".

He said her life had changed since the attack and she now felt unable to socialise or attend college. She has said she now feels unable to model.

"She has become withdrawn and depressed. She has suffered flashbacks, panic attacks and suicidal ideation. Indeed, towards the end of October last year, she attempted suicide," Judge Tremberg said.

Morris, from Hull, has one previous conviction for common assault after brandishing a knife at her father.

Judge Tremberg said she had learned "little or nothing" from that experience and said a "worrying pattern" appeared to be emerging.

Morris, who pleaded guilty to throwing a corrosive liquid with the intent to burn, maim, disfigure or disable or do some grievous bodily harm, was also issued with a restraining order banning her from contacting Ms Smith for four years.

She showed no emotion as she was sentenced but members of her family sobbed in the public gallery as she was led away from the dock.