Acid attack victim, 21-year-old Naomi Oni shed tears during her first television appearance since her attacker was found guilty and revealed she contemplated suicide over false claims she poured acid over herself.
In an interview she gave while appearing on a television programme in London Thursday morning and published on Mailonline, she said: ‘I was told there was no way of finding who this person was and after being questioned by the police and realising they were looking at me, trying to say that I done it to myself, I thought this is not going to happen.
‘I’m not going to sit there and let them tell me that.
‘So I decided to come on the show and let everyone know what’s happened to me and let them know that someone is out there that attacked me.’
She added: ‘Knowing that someone had burnt your face, literally burnt you alive, that is horrific and to look at yourself in the papers and see something else.
‘Then to be told that you’ve done this to yourself – I had no clue what was going to happen to me.
‘That should not have happened to me and I should not have been accused.
‘It was horrific. I was in hospital getting my eyelids repaired when I heard what had happened.’
Admitting that it made her feel suicidal, Miss Oni said: ‘I felt like I was left alone.
‘I felt like authorities and support teams that I should have been getting didn’t want to help in terms of my housing and I felt like someone has randomly attacked me, destroyed my life, taken my face, and now my whole life was being taken away from me. I don’t feel like a normal young girl.
‘I felt like “this has happened to you, deal with it” – it does make you feel suicidal.’
CCTV footage obtained by police after the attack showed the assailant following Miss Oni as she left her job as a shop assistant in Victoria’s Secret in Westfield Shopping Centre, Stratford, East London.
Naomi suffered serious burns to her face and chest, lost her hair and eyelashes, and required skin graft surgery to cover the burns.
Talking about her attacker she said: ‘She was a close friend and I’d known her since I was about 11.
‘I believe, from what I hear, that she’s always had a jealousy, a type of hatred, which I didn’t realise.
‘She would be very on and off with me. She’d treat me like a puppy, pick up and drop me.
‘One minute she’s not friends, one minute she’s friends and as we got older I feel like it just spiralled.’
She added: ‘I told the police on January 6 – a few days after the incident – when they asked me if anyone has ever threatened to do such a thing before.
‘And I thought about it and said someone has. I said a friend of mine back in 2011 after an argument she told me that she was so angry at the time that she wanted to throw acid at me.’
Naomi clearly recalled how Konye reacted shortly after the incident. She said: ‘The morning of the day it happened.
‘I remember that she messaged me and I spoke to her in the evening and told her what happened.
‘She seemed shocked and told me she wanted to come and see me in hospital.’
She added: ‘When I first had some surgery, I remember crying on the phone to her asking “who would do this to me, who hates me? I would never wish this on my worst enemy”.
‘She told me not to worry, that I’d be okay and she even attended my surprise birthday party and got me flowers and a gift card.
‘She sat beside me and cried and everything. How do I feel about her now? I think she’s a sad person.
‘I think I will always be the person I was and no one can stop me from that.
‘And like I said before I even knew it was her, whatever the person tried to do, they failed, and I stand by it. She failed and will continue to be an amazing person.’
A Metropolitan Police spokesman responded thus: ‘All lines of enquiry were considered in the early stages of the investigation.
‘The investigation was detailed and complex and officers had a duty to explore every avenue of enquiry and retain an open mind about the circumstances.
‘They carried out numerous actions including door-to-door enquiries, leaflet drops, searches, interviews and forensic analyses. Ensuring full and accurate statements were taken from the victim was part of that process.
‘The CCTV evidence took some time to collate and analyse but then clearly showed a veiled suspect trailing the victim before the attack.
Konye was arrested as the investigation progressed.