Judge lifts reporting ban on teenager who used acid to steal mopeds citing 'huge' public interest in case

A judge allowed the media to name a 17-year-old youth who admitted carrying out a spate of acid attacks against moped riders in a bid to steal their vehicles.

Derryck John, from Croydon, south London, targeted six riders in the north and east of the capital in less than 90 minutes on July 13 last year.

Earlier reporting restrictions had banned the media from identifying the defendant because of his age.

But judge Noel Lucas QC, sitting at Wood Green Crown Court yesterday, lifted the anonymity order.

He said: “This is a case where there is an overwhelming, cin the public knowing both about the fact of the offence and in the identification of the perpetrator and his age.”

John, who pleaded guilty to 12 charges, had sprayed his victims in the face with a noxious liquid, which police said left one with “life-changing injuries”.

The substance used is thought to have had a PH of one or two – making it the strongest acid available – the court was told.

John stole two mopeds and tried to take another four from their owners, before being arrested at about 3am on July 14.

Yesterday he pleaded guilty to six charges of throwing a corrosive liquid with intent to “disable, burn, maim, disfigure or cause grievous bodily harm”, two counts of robbery, and four counts of attempted robbery.

Another unidentified person is listed on the indictment as also having been involved in the attacks.

John was originally due to stand trial, having earlier denied the charges, but changed his plea at the last minute.

Judge Lucas, reading a note from the defendant, said the guilty pleas were entered “on the basis that the acid was thrown to incapacitate the victims” and that “the other male involved was much older than me”.

The note also said: “I really didn’t appreciate the damage that would be done. I’m terrified of the sentence that I will receive and I’m very sorry for what I did and realise I will receive a significant sentence of imprisonment.”

John did not enter a plea on a further charge of robbery on June 25. The count will be dealt with at sentencing.

John will be sentenced at Wood Green Crown Court on March 9.


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