Four killers facing jail after series of chemical attacks

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

Four killers are facing life behind bars after a man died and a woman lost an eye during a series of chemical attacks on people in their homes.

Andy Foster, 26, had ammonia or similar corrosive liquid thrown in his face on August 20 last year, which stopped him from breathing, caused a heart attack and killed him, in an incident in Eighton Terrace, Wrekenton, close to the border with Sunderland.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Newcastle Crown Court heard the fatal confrontation was the fourth in a series of similar chemical attacks in Gateshead and South Tyneside.

Andy Foster. Picture issued via Northumbria Police.Andy Foster. Picture issued via Northumbria Police.
Andy Foster. Picture issued via Northumbria Police. | Andy Foster. Picture issued via Northumbria Police.

Youssef Wynne, Josh Hawthorn, Kenneth Fawcett and John Wandless all denied murder and other serious charges in connection to the other attacks but have today been convicted by a jury.

Mr Justice Dove adjourned the case until July 26.

Prosecutor Mark McKone KC said the first attack happened at Masefield Drive, South Shields, South Tyneside, on August 9 last year when Fawcett targeted a man in his home around midnight.

Fawcett squirted the victim in the face with ammonia or similar liquid which caused "horrendous burning and stinging" to his eyes and face and required extensive treatment at hospital, where he was taken by ambulance.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

A second man came under similar attack a property in Hebburn, South Tyneside, on August 12 and needed hospital treatment.

On August 16 a woman in nearby Jarrow was sprayed in the eye during an attack. She felt her lungs burning, could not breathe and collapsed.

Mr McKone told the court: "After a number of operations, her left eye had to be removed."

The court heard not all of those who came under attack were necessarily the intended targets.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The deadly attack on Mr Foster happened at just after 11pm on August 20.

The court heard Mr Foster's partner Katie Harrison was in the house at the time he was targeted.

Mr McKone said: "She did not see the attack but she heard someone come to the door and then heard her partner screaming.

"Katie said her partner was holding his face and she heard him shouting 'it's ammonia, I can't breathe'.

"She called an ambulance and performed CPR on Andrew."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

She later realised a box was missing from the kitchen, which contained a kit for making sweets which were then sprayed with cannabis oil.

McKone added: "The chemical attack upon Mr Foster was the fourth similar chemical attack in that general area in just 11 days, between August 9 and August 20 2023.

"The prosecution say four separate victims were attacked at their homes in the Gateshead or South Shields areas by ammonia or similar corrosive liquid being thrown or sprayed into their faces.

"Andrew Foster died, one woman lost an eye and two other men needed medical treatment.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"The prosecution say that the violence was connected to drug dealing. The prosecution say that the four defendants were part of a scheme to tax other drug dealers. Taxing is a slang word in the drugs world for dealers stealing drugs from another dealer and, at the same time, scaring off the competition from future drug dealing."

Mr McKone said Wynne was a drug dealer and the three other men worked under him.

He added that Wynne and Hawthorn were not present at any of the four attacks but told jurors: "The prosecution do say Mr Wynne was involved in organising all the attacks and Mr Hawthorne was also involved in organising the fourth and fatal attack and the attacks were carried out, we submit, for the benefit of Wynne and Hawthorne."

Mr McKone said Fawcett was employed as Wynne's "enforcer" and he was present at all four attacks.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Prosecutors say Wandless was recruited later by Fawcett and was present at the final three attacks.

Wynne is also accused of attacking Mr Foster in September last year, which was also a dispute over drugs.

Wynne, 39, of Wuppertal Court, Jarrow, Hawthorn, 23, of Ashfield, Jarrow, Fawcett, 33, of Balkwell Avenue, North Shields and Wandless, 32, of no fixed abode, were all found guilty of the murder of Mr Foster and robbery of cannabis edibles from his home.

Wynne was also convicted of assault, two charges of attempting to cause grievous bodily harm with intent and one of causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Fawcett was also found guilty of two charges of attempting to cause grievous bodily harm with intent and one of causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

Wandless was also convicted of one charge of attempting to cause grievous bodily harm with intent and one of causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

Related topics: