East London acid attack: Fundraising for victims tops £50,000

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Images of Resham Khan before and after the acid attackImage copyright Resham Khan
Image caption Resham Khan had been celebrating her 21st birthday when she was attacked

More than £55,000 has been raised for two victims of an acid attack left with life-changing injuries.

Resham Khan was celebrating her 21st birthday with her cousin Jameel Muhktar when acid was thrown at them through their car window in Beckton, east London, on 21 June.

A total of £55,953 has been raised and Ms Khan has backed a petition due to be sent to the home secretary calling for acid sales to be restricted by licence.

John Tomlin, 24, has been charged.

A GoFundMe page was set up in the wake of the attack with the aim of reaching £30,000.

Ms Khan, a business management student, has also received messages of support on Twitter, with some calling her an “inspiration”.

In a letter, she explained why she supported the petition, which has gained more than 360,000 signatures, calling for a change in the law.

“My plans are in pieces, my pain is unbearable and I write this letter in hospital whilst I patiently wait for the return of my face,” she wrote.

Image caption Jameel Muhktar was temporarily placed in an induced coma to treat his injuries

“Currently, I have two main priorities: to make a full recovery and to make sure no-one ever goes through the living nightmare I have endured.

“I refuse to allow the country I grew up in simply to get used to corrosive substance attacks.

“I can’t dwell on the past but what I can do is help build a better future, one without attacks like these.”

Assaults involving corrosive substances have more than doubled in England since 2012.

On Monday, East Ham Labour MP Stephen Timms is leading a Parliamentary debate on acid attacks.

He said: “I will press ministers to consider licensing the sale of corrosive liquids to combat the surge in acid attacks.”

London has seen the biggest increase in attacks, with a quarter taking place in the borough of Newham, he added.

The Met Police said it was aware of a growing trend in assaults using corrosive liquids.

The force advises retailers and parents to question why young people are buying these substances over the counter.

Image copyright Sarmad Ismail
Image caption Sarmad Ismail said after learning of Ms Khan’s attack he felt something had to be done

Personal trainer Sarmad Ismail started the change.org petition calling for corrosive substances to be purchased under licence only in England.

He said: “I really empathise with the victims and their families. What if it happened to me or my friends and family? I couldn’t stand that. It has got to stop.

“I think there’s a chance now because of political momentum, that if we come together we can get something done about this.”

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He said there were legitimate reasons for buying acid but there should be tighter controls.

The Met said it was working with retailers to raise awareness that people might be buying corrosive substances to use as weapons.

Jaf Shah, of the charity Acid Survivors Trust International, said he wanted the government to go further and make it compulsory when purchasing corrosive chemicals to pay by card that was traceable to an individual and to make acid available only under licence.

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