Naomi Oni was left scarred for life when acid was thrown in her face by a jealous friend, on her 21st birthday, four years ago.
Now 25 years, Naomi revealed she was nearly blinded when Mary Konye, 22, disguised in a veil, followed her home from work before attacking her with corrosive liquid.
Konye had been driven wild with jealousy over her friend’s good looks and plotted to destroy Naomi’s life.
But brave Naomi says she will not let the attack ruin her and has even forgiven her attacker, who still shows no remorse despite being jailed for 12 years in 2014.
Mary Konye was jailed for 12 years in 2014 over the acid attack.
“I do forgive her,” Naomi, who has had several face operations since the 2012 assault, told the Daily Mail.
“I owe myself the freedom to move on. But I still think she is a callous, vindictive person; a complete coward who betrayed me.”
Konye sent sympathetic messages to the victim after the ordeal, while police were still hunting the attacker, a new BBC3 documentary reveals.
She even attended Naomi’s 21st birthday party as police hunted the person responsible. When she was finally prosecuted she claimed Naomi had thrown acid on herself to gain ‘fame and fortune’.
Some five years after the assault in East London, the 25-year-old has spoken out for the first time about how the 2012 attack changed her life forever.
She was on her way home from work at the Victoria’s Secret lingerie shop in Stratford’s Westfield shopping centre to Dagenham when her life was changed forever.
She told the programme:
“I thought she was my friend and I couldn’t understand why she did what she.
“To be betrayed – for someone to lead you to your own destruction – I was heartbroken.”
Speaking about the attack itself, Naomi said: “I looked to the side of me and I remember seeing someone in just black and the person’s face being covered.
“There was a very cold stare and I remember thinking, ‘Whoah, OK, just cross the road and go to your house’.
“Before I knew it I felt a huge splash and I immediately screamed.
“I was running down my road. I remember banging on the door, screaming “It’s burning, it’s burning, acid, acid, acid.”‘
Miss Oni needed facial reconstruction surgery twice to treat her horrific burns at a specialist unit.
Doctors had to use skin from her thighs to rebuild her face and from behind her ears to create new eyelids.
Konye, of Canning Town, East London, was jailed in March 2014 for 12 years for the horrific attack after police reviewed the CCTV footage of Naomi being followed home from Westfield.