A 20-year-old woman has been left disfigured and almost lost her eyesight after an unprovoked acid attack which happened just five minutes away from her home in Dagenham, east London.
Naomi Oni was on her way home from work at Victoria’s Secret in Westfield Stratford City at around midnight on 30 December when she noticed someone in a niquab following her.
Without warning, the unknown attacker threw a chemical substance into Naomi’s face, causing severe burns to her head, shoulders and arms.
Naomi has said the attack has ‘ruined her life’.
Talking to The Evening Standard, she said
I look in the mirror and it just isn’t me. I’ll never look the same again.
I’ve always been outgoing and confident in my job and in my personal life, used to getting attention for the way I dress or my hair, but now I don’t want anyone looking at me.
She described the circumstances of the attack and revealed the true nature of its horror,
I’d been working a late shift and was talking to my boyfriend about what we were going to do for New Year when I saw this muslim woman wearing a niqab covering her face. I thought it was a bit strange at that time of night, but she didn’t say anything and I kept on walking.
Then I felt a splash on my face. It burned and I screamed out. I started running and screaming, holding my face, all the way home. I didn’t look back.
I got home and I was screaming and banging on the door. I was hysterical.
Luckily my godmother, who is a pharmacist, was at home with my mum and she helped me and kept dipping my face in water and trying to calm me down until the police and ambulance got there.
I was in shock. Saying: ‘Who would do that? Who would do that?’ How could anyone do this?
Now she is ashamed of going out in public and may not have the courage to go to college in September. She continued,
I don’t want people to see me in public. I don’t want to get the Tube or the bus. If I have to go to the hospital I take a taxi. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to go back to my job.
I was planning to go to college in September to study media and fashion, but I don’t even know if I’ll be able to do that.
Naomi said she has been inspired by Katie Piper, the former model who was also the victim of a similar acid attack after her jealous ex-boyfriend arranged to have the substance thrown in her face.
Naomi was released from hospital only last week after a month of skin graft surgery to reconstruct her face.
A Scotland Yard spokesman said the Police are keeping an “open mind as to the motive.”
Police in Barking & Dagenham are still investigating the attack, but so far no arrests have been made.