Victim doused with acid recalls excruciating pain

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A Henry County woman, left permanently disfigured by industrial strength drain cleaner, gave emotional testimony Tuesday in the trial of a former boyfriend accused of deliberately throwing acid onto her face and upper body.

“I can't describe the pain. It's worse than any childbirth I've ever had. Instinctively, because my eyes were burning, I went right to sink and started rinsing my eyes," said Christy Sims.

Sims said her accused former boyfriend, Andrew Fordham, was not happy that she was intending to break up their relationship.

In April of 2013, Fordham was at her home and called to her to bring a towel to the bathroom. She testified when she approached the door, Fordham was slipping around on a water puddle, holding a yellow bowl. She said a moment later, he lunged toward her in the hallway, throwing sulfuric acid drain cleaner onto the face, chest and arms.

“He just doused whatever was in the bowl onto my face. I was screaming, 'I hate you, I hate you.' He said 'Babe, I slipped, I slipped,'" Sims said.

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Sims said Fordham called 911 for help. In a recording played to the jury, a dispatcher is heard asking Fordham if he had washed Sims and put her in the shower. He had not.

Sims, who was blinded by the acid, couldn't understand why he wasn't rinsing her off.

"He said, 'If I rinse you off. It's going to ignite the chemicals,' and I'm like, 'What are you talking about?  I'm burning. I'm on fire,'" said Sims.

A paramedic later testified the acid had burned through Sims clothes and that he was surprised that Fordham had not rinsed her off. He also said he was suspicious of wide spill area of the acid into the hallway and walls.

"It kind of threw me, where it didn’t' seem right," said Henry County Fire Department EMT Phil Baker.

A defense attorney told the jury that the alleged victim initially told doctors and nurses at the hospital that the spill was accidental and later changed her story after Fordham did not immediately comply with her brother's request to help pay the medical bills.

"At that moment it changed. This now becomes, Mr. Fordham did this to me intentionally," said defense attorney Chris Chapman.

Chapman also said his client and the alleged victim were getting along well in the days prior to incident, which contradict the claim of an intentional attack.

"Without any provocation, without any triggering event, he pours this into a cup and throws it into her face," said Chapman.

Fordham is charged with aggravated assault, aggravated battery and burglary.

Testimony in the trial resumes Wednesday, July 14.

Sims said she racked up more than $1 million in medical bills and has to have more surgeries.