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Monday, March 9, 1998 Published at 17:54 GMT


Twelve years for acid attack husband
image: [ Humphrey: judge said intention was if he could not have his wife then he would ensure nobody else would want her ]
Humphrey: judge said intention was if he could not have his wife then he would ensure nobody else would want her

A 51-year-old businessman has been jailed for 12 years after a jury found him guilty of setting up an acid attack on his estranged wife - which left her 19-year-old babysitter disfigured for life.

Stephen Cape reports from Exeter for BBC Radio 4's PM programme (1' 57")
Peter Humphrey was convicted at Exeter Crown Court after the prosecution said obsessive jealousy had made him set up the nitric acid attack.

They said an unknown hitman had gone to attack Susan Humphrey who was out and that the acid was instead thrown in her babysitter's face - scarring her for life.

Humphrey swayed in the dock and had to be supported by a dock officer when he was convicted by the jury of eight men and four women on the sixth day of his trial.

Judge Graham Cottle told Humphrey from Axminster, Devon he was an evil man who had shown no sign of remorse.

[ image: Beverley Hammett has been left scarred for life]
Beverley Hammett has been left scarred for life
The Crown had claimed that 37-year-old Susan Humphrey was the intended victim when a glass container of acid was hurled at her secluded home Camelot in Seaton, Devon, on July 10, 1996.

But she was out visiting her sister in hospital and student Beverley Hammett, babysitting for only the second time, was hit in the face with the acid when she went to the front door.

Humphrey was convicted of aiding and abetting, procuring or counselling someone to cause grievous bodily harm to Beverley Hammett, with intent to cause grievous bodily harm to Susan Humphrey.

Sentencing Humphrey the judge said: "You have been found guilty of the most heinous crime. There are no words which would accurately describe the character of a man who behaved as you did.

"You carry the major share of the responsibility for ruining a young life. For the rest of her life Beverley Hammett will remain cruelly disfigured as a consequence of that evil act."

The judge went on: "The terrible irony of this case is Beverley Hammett was not the intended victim. You intended your wife to have nitric acid thrown into her face.

The judge commented that had Mrs Humphrey been at home, it was likely that she would have been left blinded as well as disfigured because, unlike Miss Hammett, she did not wear glasses.

"Your intention was if you could not have your wife then you would make quite sure nobody else would want her."

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