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Acid attacker has life sentence quashed

A dad who left a man scarred for life in a "horrific case of mistaken identity" has had his life sentence overturned by top judges.

David Phillips, 49, threw sulphuric acid in the face of property developer Andreas Christopheros because he thought he had sexually assaulted a member of his family.

Phillips travelled more than 300 miles from his home in Hastings, East Sussex to Truro, Cornwall - but turned up on the wrong doorstep. He threw the corrosive liquid as Andreas answered the door, leaving the property developer permanently blind and with horrendous burns.

His wife Pia, 33, also burnt her feet as she rushed to her husband's aid after the attack in December last year, while their toddler son lay crying upstairs.

Andreas Christopheros before the attack Credit: ITV News

After being jailed for life in October 2015, Phillips appealed his sentence in the Court of Appeal.

The court heard Phillips wanted to exact revenge for an attack carried out on someone he was close to whilst holidaying in Cornwall.

The obsessed father-of-three spent months planning his vengence, before driving to Truro in December 2014 armed with a bottle of acid.

But the attack, the court was told, had been a "horrific case of mistaken identity" and Phillips was acting on totally false information.

David Phillips Credit: ITV News

Mr Christopheros was left disfigured and partially blinded after Phillips hurled acid in his eyes as he said, "This is for you".

Phillips was jailed at Truro Crown Court after he admitted wounding with intent.

At the Court of Appeal Mr Justice Wyn Williams, sitting with Lady Justice Rafferty and Judge Peter Collier QC, noted the remorse expressed by Phillips - but also the devastating impact of his crime.

Mr Justice Wyn Williams,added he understood the "dreadful nature of the offence".

We acknowledge that this crime involved a great deal of planning and a great deal of determination to carry through.

The consequences for the victim were intended to be permanent and catastrophic.

– Mr Justice Wyn Williams
Andreas Christopheros after the attack

But he ruled that Phillips had wrongly been condemned as a highly dangerous man from who the public would need future protection.

He said instead the evidence suggested the threat he posed was limited to the "very particular" facts of the offence.

We are therefore forced to conclude that this life sentence was not justified and must be quashed.

– Mr Justice Wyn Williams

The court substituted a standard, 16-year, prison sentence, of which Phillips will serve half before qualifying for automatic release.

Lady Justice Rafferty ended the hearing by thanking Mr Christopheros, who sat at the back of the court, for attending the appeal.

Andreas was attacked at his home in Truro Credit: ITV West Country