The man charged with blinding mother Carla Whitlock with acid outside the Turtle Bay restaurant in Guildhall Square last September has been found guilty in court.
Ms Whitlock, 37, was permanently blinded in one eye and left with permanent physical scarring as a result of the attack, which took place outside the popular Caribbean restaurant on September 18th last year.
As reported by the Daily Echo, Billy Midmore, 22, was found guilty of causing Grievous Bodily Harm with intent at Southampton Crown Court. Over the course of the seven day trial, jurors were told how he was captured on CCTV buying drain cleaner, telling his brother to be quiet in a taxi minutes before the attack happened, celebrating with a friend and leaving Southampton an hour after the attack happened.
His brother, Geoffery Midmore (26), who was also charged with being part of the attack, pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and both men are now awaiting sentencing.
Prosecutor Kerry Maylin told the court that the attack was a ‘joint enterprise’ between the two brothers, both of whom were involved in drug dealing within Southampton and regularly transported loads of crack cocaine and heroin worth up to £4,000. She described the attack on Ms Whitlock as a ‘debt to be paid’ after she contacted the Midmore brothers asking for £100 worth of drugs and ‘at least two men’ stole around £2,000 worth of drug money from Geoffery Midmore.
Billy Midmore told the court that he believed Ms Whitlock had set them up. It was revealed that he sent a text to her phone that evening telling her she was dead.
The brothers were later seen in the Millbrook Branch of Homebase buying a drain cleaner based on concentrated sulphuric acid, which is believed to have been the substance thrown at Carla Whitlock during the attack. Geoffery Midmore was revealed to have sent a picture of the product to his girlfriend, with the caption: ‘this is the one. Face melter’.
Billy Midmore claimed that he was unaware his brother had sent this text, and that the reason they had bought the drain cleaner was to unblock a toilet at a flat where they were staying in Cossack Green. On the night of the attack he had previously claimed that he had been with friends and his brother in a park opposite Guildhall Square, but had later left to sell drugs in nearby East Park unaware of his brother’s plans.
CCTV footage showed a group of people making their way past the Turtle Bay restaurant, where the court was told that they had confronted Ms Whitlock and her partner Matthew Wedgner. Later in the footage Geoffery Whitlock is seen to throw the acid at Ms Whitlock’s face before running away.
Detective Chief Inspector David Brown, from the Western Investigations Team, commented:
There was an excellent response from members of staff and customers from a local restaurant and passers-by. They rushed to Carla’s side and helped by giving us accounts of what they saw and heard. I would like to extend my gratitude to them all for their humanity, compassion and their continued support.
The injuries sustained by Carla as a result of this attack are horrific and will stay with her for the rest of her life. Carla will now have to rebuild her life and provisions are in place from the wider health and social support networks to help her do that, and we wish her the very best.
I would like to close by saying that these types of incidents are extremely rare in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, and to provide our assurance that we will continue to work to ensure that our county remains a safe place to live, work and visit.