Man loses sense of smell and taste after noxious substance attack in Bournemouth

Three men have been jailed after conspiring to carry out an attack on a man using a noxious substance in Bournemouth.

James Craig Brinksworth, 32 and of Exeter Drive in Birmingham, Devon Junior Morris, 30 and of Sandringham Road in Birmingham, and Leigh Slaymaker, aged 46 and of Youngs Road in Bournemouth, pleaded guilty to a joint enterprise to cause grievous bodily harm. They entered their guilty pleas on the first day of their trial on Monday 10 December 2018 at Bournemouth Crown Court.

They appeared again yesterday, Tuesday 11 December 2018, to be sentenced.

Brinksworth was sentenced to two years and five months in prison, Slaymaker was handed a three-year jail term and Morris was jailed for a total of three years and eight months in prison for the conspiracy matter and other driving offences.

Following the investigation, led by detectives from Bournemouth CID, it was established that Slaymaker organised the attack following an ongoing dispute with the victim, Morris committed the attack and Brinksworth acted as the getaway driver. The entire incident was captured on CCTV.

On the morning of Tuesday 10 July 2018 their targeted victim, a local man aged in his 40s, was getting ready to leave for work with a colleague in Youngs Road when they were approached by Morris who was wearing a full forensic suit. He asked for directions and the second man pointed up the road, while the victim enquired about what Morris was wearing.

Morris then asked the victim for his name. The victim only had time to say ‘what?’ before Morris threw liquid from a container directly into his face.

Morris then turned around, attempted to flick the liquid at the second man before running away. A witness saw Morris run to a nearby road and get into the front passenger seat of a black Ford Focus, which left the scene. The witness took a note of the registration plate and passed the details to the victim and police.

The number was broadcast to local officers and two and a half miles away the vehicle was spotted by armed officers and requested to stop. The vehicle then reversed into a member of public’s car and drove off at speed. It was followed and again forced to stop by armed officers, assisted by colleagues.

Morris and the driver Brinksworth were arrested. The car was searched and a forensic-type suit was found discarded in the rear passenger footwell. Crucially a piece of paper was found in the glovebox, which contained written details regarding the victim, including his name, address, the vehicles he drove and their registration numbers, details of his work colleagues and his daily movements.

During the course of the investigation is was established the vehicle registration number was false and had travelled from Birmingham in the early hours of Tuesday 10 July 2018 into Dorset.

The written instructions for the attack were forensically examined and the piece of paper was found to contain Morris’s fingerprints and that of Leigh Slaymaker, who had been in dispute with the victim.

Slaymaker was arrested on Friday 14 September 2018. His house was searched and officers found similar torn pieces of paper matching the attack instructions and details of the car belonging to the victim’s colleague. The handwriting on the instructions were also found to be conclusively identical to other handwritten notes in his home.

The victim’s injuries were thankfully minimal. He, assisted by his colleague, immediately washed his face. However, some of the fluid went into his mouth and was ingested and was also inhaled up his nose.

He has since lost his sense of taste and smell and has suffered psychologically.

Detective Constable Adrian Turner, of Bournemouth CID, said: “James Brinksworth, Devon Morris and Leigh Slaymaker conspired together to carry out a horrendous attack. Their victim was an innocent and hardworking man who had simply fallen out with Slaymaker over trivial matters and did nothing to provoke such an attack.

“Their actions were dangerous and extremely reckless and it is nothing but sheer luck that their victim was not more seriously injured. He has been left with some long-lasting physical and mental scars and I hope the sentences handed out by the court today will send out a very strong warning that violence such as this will simply not be tolerated.

“I would like to thank the quick-thinking witness who took down the registration details for the getaway car as this proved critical to us arresting those responsible and seizing valuable evidence.”