Hebburn man squirted ammonia in rival’s face over feud

Neil Whitehouse was jailed for two years.
Neil Whitehouse was jailed for two years.

An attacker who threw ammonia into a man’s face as he answered the front door of his girlfriend’s home has been jailed for two years.

Neil Whitehouse was carrying the corrosive liquid in a water bottle when he went to Ryan Anderson’s partner’s home in Jarrow on March 17.

When Mr Anderson answered the door, the 37-year-old squirted the harmful liquid into his eye and mouth.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the 24-year-old’s right eye was injured and he needed hospital treatment.

Whitehouse, of Crawley Avenue, Hebburn, admitted throwing a corrosive fluid with intent.

Judge Deborah Sherwin jailed him for two years.

The judge said: “When Mr Anderson opened the door, within a short space of time, you sprayed ammonia over him, some into his eye, causing blurring and pain.”

The court heard the men had met last year when Whitehouse had cut Mr Anderson’s girlfriend’s grass and initially got on, but their friendship deteriorated.

A week before the ammonia attack the men were involved in a street confrontation, where Mr Anderson offered to fight Whitehouse, who refused.

Neil Pallister, prosecuting, told the court: “Mr Anderson was at his girlfriend’s home and heard a knock at the door.

“He answered the door, saw the defendant standing there and noticed the defendant holding a 1.75-litre bottle with liquid in it.

“After opening the door, he said the defendant squirted the bottle he was carrying twice.

“The liquid hit Mr Anderson in his right eye and mouth. He could smell ammonia straight away and had a burning sensation in his right eye.

“His girlfriend contacted the police and an ambulance came to take him to hospital.”

Mr Anderson told police after the attack: “I am very upset. I could lose my eye due to an idiot. I can’t understand his actions.”

Mr Anderson’s girlfriend told detectives she planned to move house because of what happened.

Whitehouse said he had taken the liquid, which he diluted, to the house as protection against Mr Anderson’s Akita dog, which he thought posed a threat.

The court also heard Whitehouse lost his father and was not allowed to attend the funeral during his time on remand.

Peter Schofield, defending, said: “He looks back with some regret over his actions.

“Thankfully the injury was less serious than it might have been.”