Eastbourne man hurled corrosive substance over strangers in ‘horrendous’ attack

A 39-year-old man has been jailed for throwing a corrosive substance over two people in Eastbourne who stopped to help him when he crashed.

Wednesday, 16th June 2021, 1:58 pm

Frank Graham, unemployed, of Upperton Road, was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment when he appeared at Lewes Crown Court on June 11, police say.

Graham drove a Renault Megane into parked vehicles on St Anne’s Road shortly before 9am on August 29 2020, said police.

The vehicle flipped onto its roof and members of the public approached to see if Graham needed help. He told the public not to phone the police and started to leave the scene.

Frank Graham. Photo by Sussex Police. SUS-210616-133159001
Frank Graham. Photo by Sussex Police. SUS-210616-133159001

Members of the public tried to stop him leaving before Graham unscrewed the lid of a bottle and threw liquid over both men before running off, police say.

An off-duty nurse came to the aid of the victims – neither was left with serious lasting injuries, the court heard.

Police said Graham was arrested later that day and found in possession of cannabis and a quantity of cocaine. A bottle cap recovered from the scene was also forensically linked to Graham.

He was charged and stood trial on May 6 this year. He was found not guilty of aggravated vehicle taking, but guilty of the other charges – two counts of throwing a corrosive fluid with intent to burn/maim/disable/disfigure/do grievous bodily harm and possession of a Class A and Class B drugs, police said.

He was jailed for six years, with a further two years to be served on extended licence.

Detective constable Fareed Camar, of Eastbourne Criminal Investigation Department, said, “This was a horrendous crime in which two people who were simply trying to help, were attacked with a corrosive substance.

“Although it is lucky they didn’t suffer more serious physical injuries, there will be a lasting emotional impact as a result of what happened.

“Frank Graham didn’t care about how much harm he caused, and I am pleased to see the severity of the offence reflected in his sentence.”