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January 12, 2014

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A Victoria’s Secret lingerie store worker, 21-year-old Naomi Oni, was forced to deny throwing acid in her own face to gain fame and fortune.



Oni was accused of setting up the attack and asking friend Mary Konye, also 21, to ‘play the stalker’ and throw the corrosive liquid over her.
Miss Oni vehemently denied the claims made by Konye’s QC, on the third day of a trial at Snaresbrook Crown Court.

The prosecution claim Konye donned a full niqab before following Oni as she made her way home from Westfield Stratford City in east London where she worked.

The victim was left disfigured for life after Konye allegedly doused her with sulphuric acid near her home in Dagenham, Essex.

But the defence said it was part of an elaborate plan to become rich and famous.

Today Miss Oni insisted she was not ‘obsessed’ with plastic surgery or the story of fellow acid attack victim Katy Piper, despite an internet search history on her laptop suggesting otherwise.

In cross examination Sally O’Neill asked her to explain to jurors the story of Ms Piper before asking whether she had become obsessed by the
disfigured model.

Oni said: “I wouldn’t say obsessed but it deeply moved me. I read about other attacks but it was not an obsession.”

Ms O’Neill said it was the defence case that she hatched a plan with Konye to pour acid over herself to improve her future prospects.

She said: “You said if something similar to that of Katy Piper happened to you then that wouldn’t be the end of the world because Katy Piper probably had a career boost.”

Oni simply replied: “No.”

The defence barrister asked her why she had visited a series of plastic surgery websites.

Oni answered: “I do not think I was very pretty at
all.

“I went on the sites for no reason in particular – I had body issues and I was interested in plastic surgery for my body but there was no particular reason.

“I remember searching for my eyelids because I had double eyelids which I didn’t like so I planned one day to see if I could do something about it.”

But O’Neill said: “You formalised a plan in which you would become the victim of a random acid attack in the hope that you would receive the same type of fame and fortune as Katy Piper had.

“You were of the view that Katy Piper still looked lovely after the attack but that you would need something else to support the attack because the police wouldn’t believe you and that was where you brought Mary Konye into it.

“Your play was, I suggest, that you would make an allegation that you had been followed and attacked and you wanted Mary Konye to be part of that – you wanted her to follow you and also, initially, wanted her to throw the acid.

“She absolutely refused to do that and you said that you were actually going to throw the acid yourself towards your neck area.”

Oni replied: “That is very untrue.”

Oni admitted deleting her internet search history on her mobile phone a day before police were due to come and collect it.

She said she felt ‘violated’ and didn’t want the police going through her personal data so she decided to delete the history on her iPhone.

Oni also denied throwing acid over her face in a bid to catapult herself into the ‘celebrity’ world.

While in hospital at the end of January, 2013, Oni’s aunt approached the London Evening Standard with an email about her niece’s plight.

O’Neill suggested going to the media was the way Oni had decided to launch herself into the celebrity sphere.

She said: “It is right that your family decided to take matters into their own hands and go to the
media?”

Oni replied: “We went to the press because I was homeless at the time.”

O’Neill then said: “You thought celebrity would
come of it, didn’t you? Were you offered the services of a celebrity plastic surgeon from America?”

Oni replied: “So I was told. I do not think being disfigured and being famous is something I aim for in life at all.”

Oni also admitted being paid £2,000 byThe Sunnewspaper for an interview as well as appearing onITVs This Morning programme and being paid a sum of £1,000.

She also appeared on a German television programme and paid around £1,200 as well as being approached by theBBCfor her story.

Mary Konye, 21, admits disguising herself in a niqab and stalking Naomi Oni, also 21, on her way home from work, but denies she doused her in sulphuric acid.

Oni yesterday described the moment she was attacked and told Snaresbrook Crown Court after she saw the damage done she thought: “I’m ugly, no one’s going to marry me now.”

Jurors were also shown CCTV of student Konye disguised in a Muslim veil as she followed her friend on the Tube, before she was attacked late at night on an east London street.

Yesterday, she described how, on her way home from work at a Victoria’s Secret lingerie store, she got off at her bus stop in Dagenham, East London, and felt a ‘presence’ before turning to see someone in a niqab.

She then felt a ‘massive splash’ as the acid was thrown at her, scarring her for life and disfiguring her face, dissolving her hair and eyelashes and burning her tongue as she screamed.

Describing how she felt after the attack, she said: “Am I a bad person? Why has this happened to me? I work hard. No one’s going to marry me now.”

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