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Victoria's Secret worker scarred for life when niqab-wearing attacker threw acid in her face as she walked home from shopNaomi Oni, 20, was almost blinded and will need years of skin graftsShe was heading back to her flat from the bus stop when she was injuredHad been talking to her boyfriend on the phone after a late shiftSays the apparently random attack has 'destroyed' her lifeThe shop assistant no longer wants to go out in publicShe was inspired to share her story by acid-attack victim Katie Piper
14:17 GMT, 1 February 2013
12:35 GMT, 2 February 2013
A young woman suffered horrific facial burns after a woman wearing a Muslim veil threw acid in her face.
Naomi Oni, 20, was walking home after
finishing work at lingerie shop Victoria’s Secret when the woman,
wearing a niqab – which reveals only the eyes – appeared and launched
the apparently random attack.
It is not known whether the attack was motivated by the victim’s work for the store.
Shocking: Naomi Oni, 20, was on the phone to her boyfriend when someone wearing a niqab threw acid at her
Initially, doctors feared the shop
assistant had been blinded. But after a month’s treatment in a
specialist burns unit, Miss Oni has recovered sight in her left eye and
partial vision in her right.
Miss Oni has only recently been discharged from hospital but has decided to speak out to help police catch her attacker.
She said: ‘I look in the mirror and it just isn’t me. I’ll never look the same again.
Hidden: Police have not managed to identify who attacked Ms Oni because they were wearing a niqab (file picture)
‘I’ve always been outgoing and confident – used to getting attention for the way I dress or my hair – but now I don’t want anyone looking at me.
‘I don’t want people to see me in public. I don’t want to get the Tube or the bus. If I have to go to the hospital I take a taxi.
‘I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to go back to my job.
‘I was planning to go to college in September to study media and fashion, but I don’t even know if I’ll be able to do that.’
On December 30, Miss Oni took the bus home to Dagenham, East London after finishing a late shift at Victoria’s Secret in the Westfield shopping centre in nearby Stratford.
It was around 12.40am, and she was just five minutes from the council flat she shares with her disabled mother, when she saw the woman and felt a ‘splash’ on her face. She said: ‘It burned and I screamed out.
‘I started running and screaming, holding my face, all the way home. I didn’t look back. I was hysterical. Luckily my godmother, who is a pharmacist, was at home with my mum and she helped me and kept dipping my face in water and trying to calm me down until the police and ambulance got there.’
Miss Oni has no idea why anyone would attack her.
She faces months, if not years, of skin grafts and further plastic surgery and even then is likely to be left with severe facial scarring.
Miss Oni is the sole carer for her 52-year-old mother. They are too afraid to go back to their flat and are currently sleeping on a friend’s sofa-bed.
A Scotland Yard spokesman said acid attacks were ‘extremely rare’ and that detectives were keeping an ‘open mind’.
Anyone with information should contact police on 0203 276 1058 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Devastating: Ms Oni had just finished a shift at Westfield Stratford shopping centre and was just minutes from home when the attack occurred