Peter Furness
Peter Furness has been jailed for four and a half years for the bleach attack Northumbria Police

A jealous ex-boyfriend who threw bleach at his victim's face while she was working at a gym in Newcastle has been jailed.

Peter Furness, 46, admitted to concealing a bottle of drain cleaner and deliberately throwing it at the woman's face at the Studio West gym on 7 September.

He also punched her in the face and back of the head as she lay in the floor in agony.

Police praised the quick-thinking actions of the other gym staff members who came to her assistance and poured water on her and put her under a shower to dilute the substance and minimise its effects before emergency services arrived.

She was taken to hospital chemical burns to her face and neck and a black eye.

Newcastle Crown Court previously heard how Furness and the woman in her 30s were previously in a relationship but had broken up.

Prior to the "extremely serious malicious" bleach attack, Furness had already broken into her home and put chili in her mascara, hair removal cream in her shampoo and superglue in her front door locks, reported the Newcastle Chronicle.

After throwing the drain cleaner, Furness contacted his victim via Facebook immediately afterwards to say he hoped she had been permanently disfigured as a result of the attack.

As well as his intended victim, an elderly man who happened to be standing near the woman at the time of the attack was also sprayed with drain cleaner and suffered minor burns to his eye and arm.

Furness has now been jailed for four and a half years after admitting throwing a corrosive substance with intent to cause harm, possession of an offensive weapon – namely a bottle of drain cleaner - harassment and a further offence of common assault against the elderly man.

Following his sentence, Rob Smoult, from Northumbria's Safeguarding Department, said: "This was an extremely serious malicious attack which was intended to cause great harm.

"In this case, the quick thinking response of people in the gym considerably reduced the overall harm, and had they not taken the actions they did, the victims would have had more serious injuries.

"I hope the victims in this case will now feel that justice has been done. This attack should also serve as a warning to others who may consider carrying out attacks with a noxious substance that the courts take such offences seriously, jailing those responsible.

"Furness will now be able to consider the results of his actions while he is starting his prison sentence."