Dagenham acid attack victim Naomi Oni’s mum speaks exclusively of daughter’s shock at friend’s arrest
PUBLISHED: 09:28 29 January 2014 | UPDATED: 15:37 29 January 2014
Acid attack victim Naomi Oni didn’t eat for three days when she heard that childhood friend Mary Konye had been arrested for the attack which left her disfigured and almost blind in one eye.
Speaking to the Barking and Dagenham Post following the verdict, Marian Yalekhue said her daughter was feeling “happier” after the jury found Konye, 21, guilty of dousing her in concentrated sulphuric acid close to her home in Bromhall Road, Dagenham, in the early hours of December 30, 2012.
Despite being left with permanent facial scarring, 21-year-old Naomi was said to be content after securing a place on a beauty and fashion course at a private college in Surrey.
She is due to begin there in March, the month her attacker will be sentenced.
Throughout the trial at Snaresbrook Crown Court, Konye repeatedly denied the charges against her and falsely claimed she and Naomi had plotted to stage the attack together in a bid to earn their fortune from media attention.
She also told the court that Naomi had been involved in fraudulent activities, which she denies, and of sleeping with men for money.
Naomi’s mother, 53, added: “I think that she’s very wicked and she’s a liar. She’s a clever liar.
“When it happened all her friends were telling me they suspected Mary, but Naomi never suspected her.
“Naomi didn’t think she would be the person. She trusts her friends. When the police came to tell her that they had got the suspect, and that it was Mary Konye, for three days she didn’t eat any food. Her legs were wobbly. She was in shock.”
She described the pair’s friendship as “cat and mouse”, saying they were always quarrelling.
Marian said that the family would not return to their council house in Bromhall Road, Dagenham, because of the bad memories it evoked.
She is waiting to be rehomed.
“Naomi doesn’t want to go back. She says she remembers that particular night when she was screaming. We don’t want to have memories of that particular night,” she said.
Recalling the moment she saw Naomi covered in acid at her door, Marian said she was unable to speak. “I went quiet,” she said. “I just couldn’t believe it.”
Konye, of Throckmorton Road, Canning Town, was found guilty of applying corrosive fluid with intent to disfigure, maim or cause grievous bodily harm.
Judge David Radford said she should expect a substantial jail term when she is sentenced after psychiatric reports on March 7.
• Pick up the Post this morning for our in-depth, three-page report on the case, with exclusive interviews and more.