Man who sprayed ammonia in victim’s face during attack has prison sentence increased

David Hudson was arrested at Stansted Airport after retuning from Spain, where he fled. Picture: ESS

David Hudson was arrested at Stansted Airport after retuning from Spain, where he fled. Picture: ESSEX POLICE - Credit: Archant

A man who was arrested at Stansted Airport after breaking into another man’s home, spraying ammonia in his face and then fleeing to Spain has had his sentence increased following an intervention from the attorney general.

David Hudson, of no fixed address, first confronted James Sanders three days before the break-in; grabbing him, kneeing him in the head and punching him to the ground outside his home, in Danbury Close, Leigh-on-Sea.

Then, at about midday on October 5, 2017, Hudson followed Mr Sanders - who was walking his dog - home and forced his way into the flat, whilst holding a bottle of liquid and a Stanley knife.

When the dog bit Hudson on the ankle, Mr Sanders tried to retrieve the dog, at which point Hudson squirted liquid into his eye.

Mr Sanders needed hospital treatment but, despite having blurry vision for three days, did not suffer permanent damage.

Hudson left the country but then resurfaced in August 2018 when he visited the British Consulate in Barcelona where he claimed he was homeless and wanted to travel back to the UK.

Hudson was arrested at Stansted Airport when arriving back in the county and was picked out of an identity parade by Mr Sanders and charged with throwing a corrosive liquid with intent to burn, maim, disfigure, disable, or cause grievous bodily harm.

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Hudson was also charged with aggravated burglary in connection with the incident and ABH in connection with the previous assault.

He denied the charges but was found guilty at Basildon Crown Court on February 8 and originally sentenced to eight years and nine months' imprisonment in March.

His sentence has now been increased to 14 years comprising a 10 year imprisonment and a four year extended licence following a hearing at the Court of Appeal. Attorney General Geoffrey Cox, intervened under the unduly lenient sentence scheme.

Speaking after the hearing, Mr Cox said: "While I am relieved the victim did not suffer any permanent physical damage, the fact is that throwing a corrosive substance can cause severe and lifelong injuries. The Court of Appeal has rightly increased Hudson's sentence to reflect this."