A MAN who instructed an accomplice to throw battery acid into another man’s face during an argument about stolen cars was jailed for five years at Newport Crown Court.
Jason Baker, 41, of Fairview, Blackwood, gave the “go-ahead” for his unidentified colleague to squirt acid from a Lucozade bottle at Byron Yandell at a car repair premises in the area, said Recorder of Cardiff Judge Eleri Rees.
Sentencing Baker, she told him there was “significant pre-meditation” involved.
“It is clear the attacker was waiting for your instructions,” she said.
The court was told the incident happened on July 10 last year, at premises backing onto a car sales business run by a relative of Baker’s.
Three cars had been stolen from the forecourt, and Baker went with the owner and his son to see Mr Yandell who, from information they had received, they suspected knew something about the stolen vehicles.
Mr Yandell denied this, but said he would make some inquiries.
Baker then threatened to return with “heavies”.
He returned later that day with two other men. Again Mr Yandell denied all knowledge of the stolen cars. An argument followed, and Mr Yandell was sprayed with battery acid. Knowing what it was, he managed to clean it off with water before it could do significant damage.
Baker was found guilty of grievous bodily harm following a trial late last year.
In his defence, the court was told that Baker, whose previous convictions include an eight-year prison sentence in 2003 for conspiracy to supply drugs, got into a dispute that was nothing to do with him.
He had not straightaway threatened Mr Yandell with the acid, but the incident escalated when Mr Yandell had got angry with Baker.
Judge Rees, however, said one of Mr Baker’s accomplices had asked him if he “should deliver the warning now or not”.
“He asked again and you gave the go-ahead. He opened the Lucozade bottle and squirted acid into Mr Yandell’s face,” she said.
“He knew it was battery acid. His eyesight was blurred and he had difficulty breathing, but managed to douse himself.
“It may or may not be true that Mr Yandell was involved in criminal activity but nothing justified the use of violence or taking the law into your own hands.
“The proper course would have been to give that information to the police.”