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Victims attacked with ‘pepper spray’ in suspected homophobic hate crimes in London

Police release CCTV of suspects after four people attacked with ‘corrosive spray’

Lizzie Dearden
Home Affairs Correspondent
Friday 30 August 2019 18:17 BST
CCTV of homophobic attack in Brixton take-away

Four people have been attacked with “pepper spray” in suspected homophobic hate crimes in London.

The first attack happened in a branch of KFC in Brixton at around 4am on 19 January.

“A corrosive spray was used on two male victims,” a spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police said.

“The second attack happened just 20 minutes later at a bus stop close to the KFC.

“The two 22-year-old victims told police at the scene that they had been sprayed by an unknown noxious substance, thought to be a type of pepper spray, in what appears to be a hate crime attack.”

Investigators are treating the two incidents as linked and said four people in total were attacked with a “corrosive substance spray”.

Police have released CCTV and are appealing for witnesses to come forward.

The footage, taken from inside the KFC in Brixton Road, shows five men police would like to speak to in connection with both incidents.

Detectives are also appealing for the victims of the first incident to come forward and assist with enquiries.

Detective constable Amy Cross, the lead investigator, said: “This was a completely unprovoked and targeted attack on at least two members of the public, with a further two victims not yet in contact with police.

“Both the attack and the homophobic motivation of this assault are abhorrent, and I appeal to anyone with any information that could assist the investigation to come forward.”

Homophobic incidents rose by 27 per cent in England and Wales during 2017-18, making up 12 per cent of overall hate crimes.

In May, a lesbian couple were attacked on a London bus after refusing to perform sex acts. Four teenagers have denied harassment and await trial.

The first attack happened inside a busy branch of KFC in Brixton (Metropolitan Police)

Police investigating the Brixton attacks said the first suspect was a black man, wearing a black beanie hat, grey tracksuit and a gilet.

The second was described as a light-skinned black male with a “chin strap” beard and of a tall muscular build.

The third male is a black man who had his hood up, and was wearing a top with white scribbles on it.

Another suspect was seen wearing a dark navy tracksuit with multiple white stripes on the legs, and the fifth man was of a larger build.

He had curly, short hair, green tracksuit trousers and a black puffa jacket.

Anyone with information is asked to conduct Lambeth CID by dialling 101.

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