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A father scarred for life after acid was thrown at him in a horrifying case of mistaken identity has spoken out after his attacker’s jail sentence was slashed.
Property developer Andreas Christopheros was left severely disfigured after David Phillips hurled acid over him.
Phillips had travelled more than 300 miles from his home in Hastings, East Sussex to Truro, Cornwall seeking revenge, but turned up on the wrong doorstep.
He admitted causing grievous bodily harm with intent and was jailed for life at Truro Crown Court in October last year after a judge ruled he was a danger to the public.
He threw the corrosive liquid as Andreas answered the door believing he was about to collect a Christmas parcel in December 2014.
He wrongly believed Mr Christopheros had sexually assaulted someone close to him, Truro Crown Court heard at the time of his sentencing.
The incident left Andreas, 30, who lives with wife Pia, 33, and son Theo, two, in Truro, Cornwall, permanently blind and with horrendous burns.
But at the Court of Appeal this week, Phillips, 49, had his jail term cut to 16 years and he will be eligible for parole after serving just eight.
Mr Justice Wyn Williams said a life sentence was not justified as, although the crime involved a high level of planning and determination to carry out, it was a revenge attack, albeit on the wrong man.
The judge said it was therefore wrong for Philips to be condemned as a highly dangerous man from whom the public would need future protection.
Speaking for the first time about the ruling, Andreas said he did not feel his attacker’s new sentence was long enough.
He said: ‘I firmly believe in the judicial system but I personally feel there is not a long enough sentence out there for him.
I am the one dealing with injuries my whole life – I will never regain sight in one eye and have very blurred vision in the other.
It’s not long enough – I understand the judge’s views and ultimately by the letter of the law he had no choice.
But I feel let down on a personal level and on a more national security scale acid attacks are on the rise and this could be said to send out the wrong message.’
Mr Christopheros was at his home with his wife and 18-month-old son when he opened the door to Phillips who said ‘This is for you’ before throwing concentrated sulphuric acid over him.
The acid was so strong his t-shirt ‘disintegrated immediately’ and damaged the house floor and hallway. His wife also suffered burns to her feet as she ran to her husband’s aid.
Mr Christopheros added: ‘It needs to be put out there that anyone who takes actions like this gets a life sentence. It is too easy to cause such horrific damage to people and I feel the legislation should be changed.
He was deemed not to be a dangerous man and not dangerous to the public.
But any man who takes such severe and planned action – this was not spur of the moment – that can cause such horrific damage is surely a dangerous man.
I don’t think the judge acted unfairly – he acted within the law – and by definition that this was a revenge attack and his first offence of its kind.
But in my opinion if someone takes severe action to hurt someone this way they are a danger to everybody.’
Andreas said he is continuing to struggle to re-build his life, but said the support of his family and friends had given him the strength to carry on.
He said: ‘I have had my ups and downs since the case. Me and my family are rebuilding our lives and getting on the best we can.
I am constantly in and out of surgery and have big operations in May and June that will leave me out of action for about six weeks.
But we are doing OK. We are strong people and are not going to let him ruin our lives.
The struggle is never going to end – I won’t get my eyesight back and I will always have facial scars – there is no way to fully heal them and they are injuries I will carry for the rest of my life.
But I have an amazingly strong wife and amazing friends – thank God for good friends and family
Andreas said he hopes the Court of Appeal hearing is the last time he will have to come face to face with his attacker.
He added: ‘I have nothing to say about him and don’t spare him much thought.
This was the last formality and I hope this is the end of the court process.
I believe he has no further appeals.
Although I am disappointed in the sentence being cut, I strongly believe in the British judicial system and the judge was fair and honest and treated me with a lot of respect.’
Williams was originally jailed for life with a minimum of seven years – but would have probably served significantly longer.