'I'm in pain, I'm in pain': Witness tells of man screaming in agony after acid attack spree in London

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Witnesses have told how victims were left “screaming” in agony after thugs launched a 90-minute acid attack spree across east London.

The suspects, who were riding on a moped, first struck in Hackney when they hurled a corrosive liquid in another rider’s face before snatching his bike and making their escape, police said.

Four other victims were sprayed with the searing liquid in Islington and Hackney.

One man suffered “life-changing” facial injuries, police said.

Witness Samuel Leibowitz, 49, described seeing a man screaming in pain after acid was flung on his face in Cazenove Road, Hackney.

He saw the man sprawled against a wall holding his face as local residents put a wet cloth over his face and poured water on him. 


Acid attack: Takeaway delivery drivers rushed to help a victim in Hackney, east London (Twitter/@sarah_cobbold)

Mr Leibowitz, a baker, said: “It was an horrific scene. The guy was screaming in pain. He was shouting ‘I’m in pain, I’m in pain’. 

“He was crying and screaming and holding his face it was shocking. He was slumped against the wall. There was a big crowd trying to help him. It was obviously serious.”

Witness Sarah Cobbold saw the victim of the first attack on Hackney Road being doused with huge bottles of water by police.


Attack spree: Police at the scene of one of the incidents (Twitter/@999London)

The 29-year-old sub-editor said: “It was just outside my flat, the victim was literally stood on my doorstep. 

“Police had cordoned off the little area around the pavement and they were pouring huge, five-litre bottles of water over his head.

“He was standing, he seemed to be OK. After probably about 10-15 minutes he managed to walk unaided into the ambulance. I hope that means he is OK.”

Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick on how easy it is to get acid

The terrifying accounts come as Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said the force was concerned about the rise of such incidents in the capital.

She branded the attacks “completely barbaric” and said: “The acid can cause horrendous injuries; the ones last night involved a series of robberies we believe are linked – I am glad to see we have arrested somebody.


Horrifying scenes: A victim is doused with water

“And it is not, 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 if any changes in the law are required.”

Speaking to LBC radio, Ms Dick urged parents to “challenge” children caught carrying household items such as bleach.

She said: “Just life if you’ve got a child in your family that takes a knife as they go out the door, we’ve got to challenge.”

A male teenager has been arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm and robbery. 

He is being held at an east London police station.

The Met Police said in a statement: “Inquiries are ongoing and officers from Hackney CID are investigating.

“Any witnesses, anyone with information or in possession of footage of these incidents should contact police on 101 or tweet @MetCC. To remain anonymous you can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”

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