Acid attacker hid phone in crutch in jail
A man jailed for throwing acid across a packed nightclub has pleaded guilty to hiding a mobile phone inside a crutch while in prison.
Arthur Collins, 25, also hid two Sim cards and two USB sticks in the medical aid while on remand at HMP Thameside.
He was being held there prior to his trial over the acid attack at a London nightclub, which injured 22 people.
Collins, the ex-boyfriend of reality TV star Ferne McCann, appeared via video link at Bromley Magistrates’ Court.
He admitted one charge of possession of a prohibited item while in prison and will be sentenced at Woolwich Crown Court at a later date.
The court heard Collins obtained the phone to make private calls to Miss McCann.
At the time Miss McCann was heavily pregnant with their daughter, who was born in November.
Collins’ lawyer, Audrey Mogan, told the court: “He did not have the phone for any sinister purpose.”
She said Collins wanted to use the mobile rather than a legitimate phone he had access to in his cell which records calls.
Collins and Miss McCann – who have since split – were being “hounded by the media” and feared recorded calls would be leaked, Ms Morgan said.
The court heard evidence was later found on the phone of calls and messages to family and friends.
Collins threw acid at revellers in Mangle E8 in Dalston on 17 April and was sentenced for the attack on 19 December.
He was being held at HMP Thameside prior his trial over the acid attack.
The court heard the phone, Sim cards and USB sticks were found on 10 September when a prison officer removed the rubber stopper from the bottom of the crutch in his private shower during a cell search.
Prosecutor Samantha Mitchell said: “He had been using the crutch because of an ankle injury.”
Collins was injured trying to evade police while on the run for the acid attack, which left 16 people with chemical burns and temporarily blinded three people, one of whom still suffers from blurred vision in one eye.
He told his trial at Wood Green Crown Court he did not know the bottle contained acid and said he believed it to contain a liquid date rape drug which he had snatched from two men after overhearing them planning to spike a girl’s drink.
But the jury convicted him of five counts of grievous bodily harm with intent and nine counts of actual bodily harm in November.