London MP demands carrying acid be made illegal after 90-minute attack spree
The Metropolitan Police say two teenagers have been arrested as a major investigation into the series of attacks that took place in less than 90 minutes is launched. The assaults appear to be linked, and two of the victims had their mopeds stolen, police added.
A 32-year-old man on a moped was left with facial injuries in Hackney after another moped with two male riders pulled up alongside him and threw a corrosive substance in his face.
One of the men stole his moped and the other drove away on the vehicle they arrived on. Police said the victim had gone to an east London hospital and they are awaiting an update on his injuries.
Little more than 20 minutes later, another victim was sprayed with the liquid in Islington. He was taken to a hospital in north London.
About 15 minutes after that, an attacker targeted another man in Shoreditch High Street. His injuries are not life-threatening, police said.
The men on mopeds then struck again, hurling acid at a man on Cazenove Road, causing “life changing” injuries.
The final assault of the night was reported to police at 11:37 local time, when another man was confronted as he sat on his moped in traffic on Chatsworth Road. After they sprayed acid in his face, the moped was stolen and the attackers fled.
The assaults take place amid increasing concern about the sharp rise in acid attacks across the capital.
Since 2010, there have been more than 1,900 reports of attacks involving corrosive fluids in London. Last year, it was used in 458 crimes, compared to 261 in 2015, according to Met Police figures.
Stephen Timms, Labour MP for East Ham, is calling for carrying acid to be made a crime. He will argue at a parliamentary debate on Monday that regulations surrounding acid should be overhauled “very quickly.”
“Carrying acid should in itself be an offence in the same way that carrying a knife was made an offence several years ago,” he told the BBC.
“I think that’s been a pretty effective change and I think the same change should be made for acid.”
Under the current law, if police stop someone carrying acid, they have to prove intent to cause harm.
Earlier this week, a man appeared in court accused of throwing acid at an aspiring model and her cousin.
Resham Khan, 21, and Jameel Muhktar, 37, were left with life-changing injuries after the attack on Khan’s birthday in east London.
John Tomlin appeared at the Thames Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday charged with two counts of grievous bodily harm with intent.
Another mass acid attack occurred earlier this year in London. On Easter Monday, acid was sprayed at a crowded east London night club, leaving two revellers partially blinded and others disfigured.