A man could lose his eyesight after he was sprayed in the face with a chemical in a suspected homophobic attack in London.
The 23-year-old victim was outside a gay-friendly nightclub with a male friend at about 4am in the early hours of Sunday morning when they were verbally abused by a group of people.
He and his friend were sprayed with what police believe to be ammonia and a third man was attacked nearby.
The man told the Evening Standard they struck up conversation with a group outside the club after being refused admission because it was closed.
When a pair of women discovered they were gay, they allegedly began screaming homophobic abuse.
“As we walked away I heard a man shout ‘Oi! Come here.’ At first I thought it was the doorman saying he’d changed his mind and we could go in,” the man said.
“Then I saw this white guy with a beard, and his hand coming up with a water bottle that he squirted really hard into my face. It went right in my eyes and it sprayed into my friend’s mouth.
“My face was burning so much, I thought it was acid. I thought I would never see again and my face was melting.”
The victim’s vision has been blurry since the attack and doctors have told him they cannot guarantee it will return.
The Metropolitan Police are treating the first attack, outside Lightbox in Vauxhall, as a homophobic hate crime but are still investigating a motive for the third incident, which they believe involved the same attacker.
CCTV images were released on Monday in an effort to trace possible witnesses and no arrests have yet been made.
The other men’s injuries are not believed to be serious.