London bleach attack may leave gay clubber blind

Jun 9, 2014

Police are investigating a homophobic attack in which bleach was sprayed at a man in London

Metropolitan Police

A London nightclubber may never fully regain his sight after being sprayed with bleach in the early hours of Sunday morning. The attack happened outside the Lightbox club in South Lambeth Place, Vauxhall, and police have issued CCTV images of a bearded man and two younger women who they would like to identify in connection with the assault.

Describing the incident as a "homophobic attack", the London Evening Standard revealed details of what happened when two gay friends attempted to enter the nightclub at around 4am on Sunday. The pair, aged 23 and 21, who asked the paper not to reveal their identities, explained that they had been refused entry because the club was about to close. They then fell into conversation with two young women they believe to be from Eastern Europe.

On discovering the pair were gay, the women began screaming abuse. The two men walked away but were then confronted by a bearded man who squirted a liquid into their faces from a bottle. "It went right in my eyes and it sprayed into my friend's mouth," said  the 23-year-old man. "My face was burning so much, I thought it was acid. I thought I would never see again and my face was melting."

The attacker continued spraying the bleach into the men's faces until the bottle was empty. He then walked calmly away, "like it was mission accomplished".

The 23-year-old man said the bleach has burnt the cornea in his left eye and his vision hasn’t yet returned. "The doctors said it should hopefully return but there is no guarantee," he explained. "What’s playing on my mind is the fact that this guy has left his flat and thought 'wallet, keys, bottle of bleach.' The guy has gone out with the intention of blinding someone."

A Scotland Yard spokesman confirmed that the incident is being treated as a homophobic hate crime, and also revealed that a third man had been attacked with a chemical spray "in the vicinity of the nightclub".

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