Jealous lover found guilty of acid attack

12/12/2014

A jealous lover who hired two men to throw acid over his ex-partner has today, along with his accomplices, been found guilty of intentionally causing her grievous bodily harm.

During the trial at Wolverhampton Crown Court, a jury heard how 80-year-old Mohammed Rafiq had become angry after the victim had ended their relationship. He recruited Steven Holmes, aged 25, and Shannon Heaps, 23, to assist him in exacting revenge.

On 15 April 2014, the defendant met with Holmes and Heaps and supplied the pair with a corrosive substance and instructions on when and where the attack should be carried out. Later on that same day Rafiq visited Ms Horsman at her friend's address. Unbeknownst to Ms Horsman, Rafiq had arranged for Holmes and Heaps to attend the address later in the day to carry out the attack.

At approximately three o'clock in the afternoon, Holmes knocked on the door of the address that had been provided to him by Rafiq, and pointed out to him by Heaps. Rafiq answered the door and then called for Ms Horsman to come to the door, telling her that a man was here to see her. As soon as Ms Horsman arrived at the door, Holmes threw the substance over her. Holmes and Heaps then fled the scene. The victim received significant burns to her chest and right ear as a result of the attack upon her.

Holmes had claimed in his evidence that he believed the substance to be engine oil and that it was designed to 'dirty up' Ms Horsman. The jury rejected this assertion and found that Holmes knew that the substance was a form of corrosive designed to cause Ms Horsman serious harm, and convicted him of the allegation.

Heaps denied being party to any agreement to cause Ms Horsman grievous bodily harm. The jury, though, accepted the evidence given in court of Heaps meeting with Rafiq and Holmes prior to the incident and to pointing out the correct address to Holmes in order for him to carry out the attack.

Rafiq was also found guilty of intending to pervert the course of public justice. The jury accepted that Rafiq had asked 26-year-old Ceri Parkes to provide a false statement to the police about who was responsible for the attack. The Police arrested the person named by Parkes, but through further investigation it became clear that Rafiq was in fact the prime suspect.  Parkes pleaded guilty to intending to pervert the course of justice prior to the commencement of the trial.

The defendants will be sentenced on Friday, 19 December 2014.

Ian Crooks, Senior Crown Prosecutor from West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service, said: "Mohammed Rafiq was unable to accept the fact that his partner wanted to end their relationship. Through his jealously and bitterness, he planned revenge against Ms Horsman. He recruited Steven Holmes and Shannon Heaps to carry out the attack on Ms Horsman, from which the victim has received permanent injury in the form of scarring to her face and chest.

"Rafiq was fully aware of what was going to take place at the front door of the address when he asked Ms Horsman to come and speak with the male who had called round. He then stood back as Holmes threw the corrosive substance, that Rafiq had provided to him, over Ms Horsman.

"During the investigation, and indeed his subsequent trial, Rafiq has claimed to have been a victim in the attack rather than being involved in its planning and execution. The jury have rejected that assertion, and those of Holmes and Heaps, and found the trio guilty of committing what can only be described as a cowardly and heinous act."