The victim of a “savage” acid attack wailed with anguish in court today as he relived the night he was left disfigured.
Awais Akram, 25, sobbed loudly after being questioned about the moments leading up to the attack in July last year.
Mr Akram allegedly had sulphuric acid poured over his head in revenge for his intimate relationship with Sadia Khatoon, a married woman he met on Facebook.
It was she who was said to have lured him out of his flat in Leytonstone, east London, and into the “deadly trap” by phoning and insisting that he go to an internet cafe in the early hours of the morning.
Mr Akram said he told her that none would be open at that time but eventually agreed to go. “At that point I felt ‘what difference would it make if I go and see?’,” he told an Old Bailey jury. David Markham, prosecuting, put it to him: “You left your address.” Mr Akram put his head in his hand and began to sob before going behind a screen that had been put up in the courtroom.
Judge Brian Barker, the Common Serjeant of London, ordered a break in proceedings and the victim’s loud wailing could be heard. Jurors had been able to see the extent of Mr Akram’s injuries, which left his face heavily scarred and with no hair except two black clumps at the front.
His right eye was closed up and he appeared to have no left ear and a shrivelled right ear. As he spoke, he occasionally ran his hand through his hair and wiped his face with a tissue.
Mr Akram, who was born in Denmark and moved with his mother to Pakistan as a child, gave evidence through an interpreter. Screens were placed in front of the public gallery. It is alleged that Khatoon’s brother Mohammed Vakas, 26, and her cousin Mohammed Adeel, 20, planned to kill him “as an act of revenge” for his relationship with her, and a 17-year-old youth was also recruited to the plot.
Adeel and Vakas, both of Walthamstow, north east London, and the teenager, who cannot be named, deny conspiring with Khatoon and her husband Shakeel Abassi to murder Mr Akram. Vakas has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm with intent, a charge his two co-defendants deny.