Mother burned with bleach after cinema row

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The Independent Online

A mother of two was seriously burnt when she was attacked with bleach in front of her family after asking a group of youths to be quiet during the new Harry Potter film, police said today.

The 46-year-old woman was watching the film with her husband and two children at a cinema when she asked the group of five or six teenagers, including at least one girl, to stop making a noise.

After the film, two of the group followed the family into a nearby restaurant and threw bleach over the woman's head and back, leaving her needing hospital treatment for burns to her skin and possible permanent damage to her eyes.

Today, West Yorkshire Police described the attack as "completely unwarranted" and said the consequences could have been much worse.

A spokesman said the woman asked the youths to be quiet after they began making a noise during a screening of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince at the Vue cinema in Kirkstall Road, Leeds on Sunday.

As the family left the cinema at about 7.30pm and went to a nearby Frankie & Benny's restaurant, some of the group shouted abuse at them from a small white or silver hatchback.

Around 15 minutes later, two of the youths entered the restaurant and threw the bleach over the woman before running to the car, which was parked on Greenhow Road.

The mother was taken to Leeds General Infirmary for treatment to burns to her skin and later released but is still being assessed to discover if her eyes have been permanently damaged.

Police said one of the attackers was described as a light-skinned, mixed-race man, about 19 years old, 6ft tall and of an athletic build. He had short, dark-brown hair and was wearing a black, short-sleeved t-shirt and black bottoms.

The second attacker was described as Asian, aged around 14, about 5ft 4ins tall and fat. He was wearing black clothing.

The driver of the car, which was possibly a five-door vehicle with tinted rear windows, was described as white, aged 17 to 18, of a wiry build with light-coloured, crew-cut hair.

Another member of the group was a black girl, aged around 14, about 5ft 2ins tall, thin and with her hair tied back in a braid.

Detective Inspector Richard Baildon, of North West Leeds Division, said: "This was a completely unwarranted attack on a mother out with her family, the consequences of which could have been much worse.

"It was a deliberate act, designed to cause pain and injury and it was totally unprovoked and unnecessary.

"We are treating it very seriously and are determined to trace those responsible."

Mr Baildon appealed for anyone who saw the group or the car at the time, or who knows the youths involved, to come forward.

He continued: "I would also appeal to any members of the group who may want to distance themselves from the actions of the others to get in touch before we come and find you."