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Market Drayton man ‘crawled for help after ammonia attack'

By Rob Smith | Market Drayton | Crime | Published:

The victim of an alleged acid attack crawled to a neighbour's door and knocked for help after having ammonia dashed in his eyes, a court heard.

Shrewsbury Crown Court

Carl Owen told Shrewsbury Crown Court he was blinded in the attack by Samuel Butter on January 11 this year. He said it happened in a block of flats in Shropshire Street, Market Drayton, where he lived.

Butter, 30, denies causing Mr Owen grievous bodily harm with intent.

At his trial on Wednesday the prosecutor Sati Ruck read out a witness statement from Thomas Phillips, who ran a business next door to Mr Owen's home in Shropshire Street.

Miss Ruck read that Mr Phillips' office had a side door leading to an alleyway near the block of flats, and that he had come to know Mr Owen as a neighbour.

The case so far:

The court heard that Mr Phillips was working at about 3.30pm on the day of the incident.

"I was at work at the office in Shropshire Street when I heard someone knocking at the side door," the statement said.

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He opened the door to find Mr Owen on his hands and knees, "moaning and groaning".

The moans were mostly incoherent, but Mr Phillips said he did make out Mr Owen saying: "Something's been thrown in my eyes."

He called 999, and before long a passerby noticed what was going on and stopped to help. He put Mr Owen in the prone position, and Mr Phillips noticed an injury to the top of his head.

He said that soon after, first responders from the Shropshire Fire Service arrived and began to flush Mr Owen's eyes.

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The statement said: "He was groaning and in pain throughout. He was in real distress."

Next the court heard a statement from Stuart Potter, who came across the scene after the first passerby. It said: "I was driving along Shropshire Street. As I passed an archway on Shropshire Street I looked to my right and saw a male lying on the ground."

Mr Potter parked and went over to help. He said that he noticed Mr Owen was "unconscious but breathing" and had an injury on the crown of his head.

He also said he saw an orange bottle close by.

Gwyn Ashton, a student paramedic with West Midlands Ambulance Service, was one of those who helped get Mr Owen to the Royal Stoke University Hospital.

His statement said that he and a colleague called to Shropshire Street in the late afternoon and found a man "throwing his arms and legs about while screaming and swearing".

The medics continued to rinse Mr Owen's eyes out and put him on a stretcher to take him to hospital. Mr Ashton found a bottle of "max strength ammonia" which he said opened easily but was full to the brim.

Mr Owen told them it had been dashed in his eyes, and also that he had been hit in the head with a bat.

As he was being rushed to hospital he asked the paramedics several times: "Has he blinded me?"

Mr Butter, of Rutland in Harlescott, Shrewsbury, denies the offence and the trial continues.

Rob Smith

By Rob Smith
Reporter

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star based at Ketley in Telford.

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