A man left with ‘life changing’ injuries following a spate of acid attack robberies was left screaming in agony as dozens of people rushed into the street to try and help him, witnesses said.
He was targeted in a suspected robbery last night (Thurs) during a series of five attacks by men on a moped across north London in just 72 minutes, which police believe are linked.
A major investigation has now been launched and a teenager has been arrested in connection with the attacks.
The most serious has left a man with ‘life-changing injuries’, detectives said.
Local baker Samuel Leibowitz, 49, said he rushed to the scene to find the victim ‘screaming in agony’ and surrounded by 50 to 60 people who had flooded out of their houses.
He said: “It must have happened at about 11.
“I got a call from a friend of mine saying there was an attack. I came running down the road and I saw a gentleman leaning on the wall with a cloth over his face.
“He was screaming in agony. There were people shouting and swearing. He was in a lot of pain.
Samuel said he believes the victim was in his mid-20s.
He added: “I could not see his face as he was holding the cloth and he was in a lot of pain. There were lots of people around him.
“There were about 50 or 60 people, it was chaotic. People heard something and they all came running out.
“He was leaning on the wall when I got here.
“There were guys on mopeds and some people say they stole his moped as well. They squirted acid in his face and stole his moped.
“There was a lot of neighbours who came out. Some gave him water, some handed him a cloth, they were local people.
“People said he was attacked. I thought he must have been attacked with a knife or something but I saw the cloth and there were lots of people around him, so I didn’t actually approach him.
“I realised there was no blood so I thought there must have been another acid attack.”
He added: “The police arrived about the same time as I did, but the ambulance was not here yet, the ambulance arrived after.
“I left here I would say at about 1am to go to work at the bakery, there was still a whole commotion here.
Police said the first of last night’s attacks was reported at about 10.25pm after a 32-year-old man had acid thrown in his face by two men on a moped.
A Met Police spokesman said: “The victim had been on a moped when another moped, with two male riders pulled up alongside him.
“The males threw a corrosive substance in the victim’s face, with one stealing his moped and the other making off on the moped they arrived on.
“The man has been taken to an east London hospital. His injuries are not being treated as life threatening or life changing.”
The second attack was reported just over 30 minutes later, when police said two men on mopeds had thrown acid into another man’s face.
He was rushed to hospital but his injuries are not thought to be life-threatening or life changing.
The victim of the third attack, who was seen by Samuel, was the most seriously hurt, police said.
The spokesman added: “At 11.18pm police received a call to a similar incident, a robbery in Cazenove Road, where a corrosive substance had been thrown.
“Officers attended and found a man suffering from facial injuries.
“He has been taken to an east London hospital. His injuries were are described as life-changing.”
The police spokesman added: “A fourth incident was reported to police at 11.37pm.
“A man stated he had been on his moped in traffic when two males on a moped pulled up alongside him and sprayed liquid in his face.
“They stole his moped and made off. The victim made his way to his home address before contacting police.
“He was taken to an east London hospital. His injuries are not life threatening and not-life changing.
“Following the incidents in Hackney, officers were made aware of a similar attack reported in Islington.
“At 10.49pm a man was reported to have had a corrosive substance thrown in his face by two males on a moped.
“He has been taken to a north London hospital and we await an update on his condition.
“All five incidents are being treated as linked at this time.
“A male in his teens has been arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm and robbery. He is currently in custody at an east London police station.
“Enquiries are ongoing and officers from Hackney CID are investigating.”