`

Ferne McCann’s ex-boyfriend loses appeal against acid attack sentence

The former boyfriend of reality TV star Ferne McCann has lost a challenge against his 20-year jail sentence for carrying out an acid attack in a packed nightclub.

Arthur Collins hurled the corrosive substance over a crowd on the dance floor at Mangle E8 in Dalston, east London, in what a judge described as a "despicable act".

Arthur Collins. Metropolitan Police/PA Wire

Arthur Collins. Metropolitan Police/PA Wire

READ MORE: First two celebrities revealed for Dancing on Ice

Collins, of Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, now 26, was sentenced at London's Wood Green Crown Court in December by Judge Noel Lucas.

Three judges at the Court of Appeal in London rejected his bid for a sentence reduction at a hearing on Wednesday.

Lord Justice Simon, announcing the decision, said: "We accept that this was a severe sentence, but these were exceptionally serious offences, and the severe sentence was fully justified."

READ MORE: This is how you can win £26 million on the Lotto this week without having to match all the numbers

Sixteen people suffered chemical burn injuries and three people were temporarily blinded in the attack.

Collins, the father of Ms McCann's baby daughter Sunday, told his trial he did not know the bottle contained acid, claiming he believed it contained a liquid date rape drug which he had snatched from two men after overhearing them planning to spike a girl's drink.

But a jury convicted him of five counts of grievous bodily harm with intent and nine counts of actual bodily harm.

READ MORE: Mel B tells ITV’s Loose Women that Spice Girls reunion is ‘definitely happening’

Collins told his trial he had been out celebrating the news of Ms McCann's pregnancy, which they had announced to her family the previous day.

After the incident, he went on the run and was not caught until several days later, hiding out in a house in Higham Ferrers, Northamptonshire.

He has previous convictions including threatening words, possession of cocaine and assault, and was still subject to a suspended sentence for punching a man at a nightclub when he carried out the acid attack.

In January, he was jailed for another eight months for using a smuggled mobile phone to call Ms McCann from his prison cell.

By Cathy Gordon, Press Association