Saturday 22 July 2017

London acid attacks: Delivery driver says it felt like 'fire on my face'

Jabed Hussain spoke on Channel 4 News
Jabed Hussain spoke on Channel 4 News

Press Association Reporters

A delivery driver allegedly doused with corrosive liquid during an acid attack spree has described how his face felt like it was on fire.

Jabed Hussain, 32, reportedly had his moped stolen when two suspects also riding a moped sprayed him with liquid in east London on Thursday night.

Two teenage boys, aged 15 and 16, remain in custody on suspicion of robbery and grievous bodily harm after a spate of assaults took place within a 90-minute period.

Five separate male victims were allegedly targeted by two moped-riding attackers in the north and the east of the capital

Emergency response following the acid attack on the junction of Hackney Road junction with Queensbridge Road, London. Photo: Reuters
Emergency response following the acid attack on the junction of Hackney Road junction with Queensbridge Road, London. Photo: Reuters

Mr Hussain told Sky News he was the victim of the night's first attack at around 10.25pm at the traffic lights on Hackney Road.

He had the corrosive substance thrown in his face before the two men stole the moped he was riding, he told the broadcaster.

"I heard the sound of water, like a glass of water, come on to my face. I didn't realise it was a kind of acid or anything.

"I left my bike, I ran, I don't know how I managed to run. I was just begging for the water because at that time it was burning on my face.

"Then I started screaming. I felt like somebody put fire on my face, on the left-hand side."

He was taken to an east London hospital, and his injuries are not being treated as life-threatening or life-changing.

Two of the assaults saw mopeds stolen, while another victim had "life-changing" injuries inflicted after being sprayed, the force added.

Chief Inspector Ben Clark, from Hackney Borough, said all of the victims were riding mopeds.

Both UberEats and Deliveroo, two takeaway delivery companies, confirmed one of their employees was among those attacked.

The assaults were branded "truly shocking" by Deliveroo, while UberEats called it "horrific and senseless".

Police said the 15-year-old was arrested at an address in Stoke Newington on Friday morning.

Later the 16-year-old was arrested in the early hours of Friday in Kingsbury Road after he was identified near the scene of the offences by local authority CCTV operators.

The pair are in custody at a north London police station.

Theresa May's spokeswoman said the Prime Minister viewed acid attacks as "horrific".

Commissioner Cressida Dick revealed the Home Office is working with the Met to see if a change in the law is needed.

Chief Inspector Clark said: "This is a fast-moving investigation and we have made two arrests today.

"However, I would like to ask the public for their help. Each of these offences took place in busy locations and we know there may be witnesses who have not yet contacted us. If you saw something or managed to film or photograph anything that might help us, please get in touch

Little more than 20 minutes after the first attack, at 10.49pm, a 44-year-old moped driver had been sprayed with a searing liquid at the Upper Street junction with Highbury Corner in Islington.

The victim was taken to a hospital in north London, but his vehicle was not taken.

Then at around 11.05pm, police were called after the attackers, still on a moped, swooped on a man in Shoreditch High Street, tossing a substance in his face.

His injuries were not life-threatening and his moped was not stolen, police said.

Within 15 minutes, the pair had struck again, launching a corrosive substance at a man on Cazenove Road near the junction with Upper Clapton Road, causing "life-changing" facial injuries.

Police were called to the scene at 11.18pm

The final assault was reported to police at 11.37pm, when another man was confronted as he sat on his moped in traffic in Chatsworth Road.

Liquid was sprayed in the victim's face and his moped was stolen by the attackers, who then fled.

The victim made his way home before contacting police.

He was taken to an east London hospital and police said they are waiting for an update on his condition.

The attacks come just days after John Tomlin, 25, appeared in court accused of throwing acid at aspiring model Resham Khan, 21 and her cousin Jameel Muhktar, 37.

They were left with life-changing injuries after the attack on Ms Khan's 21st birthday in Beckton, east London.

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