London acid attacks: Two teenage boys arrested after pizza delivery driver 'blinded' released by police

Members of the public raise thousands of pounds for victim, who remains in intensive care

Lizzie Dearden
Home Affairs Correspondent
@lizziedearden
Monday 06 November 2017 13:29
Muhammed Nawshad Kamal, 32, was reportedly attacked with acid
Muhammed Nawshad Kamal, 32, was reportedly attacked with acid

Police have released two teenage boys arrested over a double acid attack that may have left a pizza delivery driver blinded in London.

Muhammed Nawshad Kamal is unconscious and remains in intensive care at Whipps Cross University Hospital with his family by his bedside, The Independent understands.

Members of the public have raised more than £7,000 to help towards his recovery amid shock and anger at the repeated targeting of delivery drivers in acid attacks.

The 32-year-old, who is originally from Bangladesh, had just dropped a pizza off at a home in Walthamstow when he was approached by two men on a scooter on Thursday.

They demanded he hand over his keys and when he refused, the attackers produced a corrosive substance and sprayed him in the face, police said.

Mr Kamal had the visor of his helmet up at the time and suffered grievous injuries as the suspects “repeatedly” doused him in acid.

Half an hour later, a second man – also a 32-year-old delivery driver – was attacked by two men trying to steal his moped in Tottenham.

Hundreds of mopeds block road outside Parliament in protest over acid attacks

He was treated for burns in hospital but his injuries are not believed to be life-threatening or life-changing.

Investigators have not yet established whether the two incidents are linked.

Police are continuing to appeal for witnesses after making two arrests. A 14-year-old boy was detained on Friday and a 16-year-old boy was arrested the following day.

Both suspects were detained on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm and have been released under investigation.

Detective Chief Inspector Gordon Henderson said: “This attack has left a man fighting for his life and with terrible eye injuries.

“This was an innocent man going about his work as a delivery driver, who may never see again.

“This is not a time to hesitate, if you have any information about this crime I would appeal that you immediately call police.

“Your phone call could save some other innocent person; it is imperative that we arrest those responsible.”

Police said the suspects who attacked Mr Kamal fled on their moped, leaving his behind. One wore a white helmet and one a black one.

Paramedics used water to wash off the acid at the scene but Mr Kamal had already inhaled the substance and is in a critical condition.

Police said he may lose the sight in both of his eyes, sparking fundraising campaigns to help his future care.

A JustGiving page started by Najma Bhatti has already raised almost £7,400 from 200 supporters, while a second page has raised £260.

“He was attacked whilst going about his work, earning an honest living - and now will no doubt need as much support as he can get from all of us,” Ms Bhatti wrote.

“Please contribute whatever you can so we can help him and his family not have to worry about finances at least right now, so he can focus on recovery.”

Delivery drivers have launched protests demanding better protection after being repeatedly targeted in acid attacks sweeping London this year, including five attacks launched in just 90 minutes in July.

Investigators have warned corrosive substances are being used as an alternative weapon by robbers, who have also used them on pedestrians to steal phones.

Acid attacks have contributed to a rise in violent crime across England and Wales in the past year, with recorded offences up by 13 per cent and knife crime up by more than a quarter.

The Government has responded with stricter controls on the sale of acid and a law making it illegal to carry acid in a public place without a good reason.

Sulphuric acid, one of the most powerful substances used in a series of attacks, could become a reportable substance under the Poisons Act, meaning anyone wanting to obtain it will need a licence and be subjected to checks.

Anyone buying or selling banned acids in violation of regulations, which prohibits sales to under-18s, can be jailed for up to two years under measures currently undergoing consultation.

Anyone with information about either attack is asked to contact police on 101, via Twitter on @MetCC, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.