Teenager arrested after five moped acid attacks in London in 90 minutes
A pair on a moped attack five people in 90 minutes in the capital, leaving one victim with “life-changing” facial injuries.
A 16-year-old boy has been arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm and robbery after a pair on a moped carried out five acid attacks in London.
Metropolitan Police said they were treating the attacks within 90 minutes on Thursday night as linked.
The assaults involved the pair attacking other moped riders and allegedly stealing two bikes.
At the start of the rampage, a 32-year-old moped rider was approached as he drove towards the Hackney Road junction with Queensbridge Road.
The two male suspects tossed the substance in his face before one jumped on his moped and rode away.
Police dowsed the victim with large bottles of water, said witness Sarah Cobbold.
The man went to an east London hospital and authorities said they were waiting for an update on his injuries.
Twenty minutes later, at around 10.50pm, another victim was sprayed with liquid on the Upper Street junction with Highbury Corner, Islington.
The victim was taken to a hospital in north London.
At 11.05pm, the two attackers swooped on a third man, in Shoreditch High Street, throwing acid in his face.
His injuries are not life-threatening, police said.
Within 15 minutes they struck again, throwing the corrosive liquid at a man on Cazenove Road and causing “life-changing” facial injuries.
The final assault was reported at 11.37pm, when another man was confronted as he sat on his moped in traffic on Chatsworth Road.
He was also sprayed in the face, the moped stolen and both attackers fled.
Police said the 16-year-old male suspect remains in custody at an east London police station.
Witness John Moody told Sky News he heard a “really nasty scream” and “banging, shouting and crashing”.
“They (police) took the guy’s shirt off and started dowsing him in cold water,” he said. “As they were doing this more police arrived and also more food delivery moped riders.
“Within five minutes there were 10, within 15 minutes there were 20, probably showing a sign of solidarity with their colleague.
“But tempers were getting quite heated and the two police officers from Hackney – superb job – they calmed the situation down. It did look like it was going to get out of hand.”
Police have urged any witnesses, anyone with information or video of the incident to get in touch, tweet them, or call Crimestoppers.
The head of London’s Metropolitan Police, Cressida Dick, said she is looking at whether a change in the law is needed.
She told LBC radio: “I don’t want people to think this is happening all over London all the time, it is really not, but we are concerned because the numbers appear to be going up.
“We will arrest people, we will enforce the law as we can, and we are working very closely with the Home Office to try to see if there is any changes in the law required.”
Labour MP Stephen Timms, who will lead a debate on the issue on Monday, has called for tougher sentences and suggested that carrying sulphuric acid without a good reason should be treated as seriously as carrying a knife.
The attacks come days after a man appeared in court charged with throwing acid at a 21-year-old woman and her cousin.
Resham Khan, 21, and Jameel Muhktar, 37, were left with life-changing injuries after the attack in Beckton, east London, on 21 June.
There was another acid attack in east London on Easter Monday, leaving two people at a nightclub partially blinded and others injured.