Stratford acid 'attack': Police arrest 15-year-old boy after six injured near Westfield centre

It came after two groups of youths went on a rampage outside the massive shopping complex

Jeff Farrell
Monday 25 September 2017 10:16
Comments
Six injured in suspected noxious substance attack in Stratford

A 15-year-old boy has been arrested after six people were injured on Saturday night in what police suspect was a mass acid attack in Stratford, east London.

It came after a "noxious substance" was thrown in several areas – including by the Westfield shopping centre and Olympic Park – during a stand-off between two groups of males, police said.

Witnesses described how innocent victims caught in the crossfire screamed in pain after being hit with fluid, with one shouting: "‘I can’t see, I can’t see."

They said the attacks came after a brawl erupted inside the Stratford Centre between the youths and the trouble then spilled outside.

Police and emergency services rushed to the scene amid the panic in the aftermath of the fight that broke out shortly before 8pm.

Hundreds of shoppers were in the area amid the stand-off, who moved back and forth between the Stratford Centre and the larger Westfield Centre opposite.

Commuters were also streaming in and out of Stratford station when the dangerous liquid was thrown into crowds.

Six males were injured in the attack, with three hospitalised, emergency services said.

Police said the group of males fled after the attack.

Officers later arrested a 15-year-old male on suspicion of grievous bodily harm. He was taken to an east London police station for questioning before being released on bail.

Witnesses told of the horror after the attack. A man who gave his name as Hossen, 28, a Burger King assistant manager, said he saw a victim and his friend, a known local homeless man, run into the fast food outlet’s toilets “to wash acid off his face”.

He said: “There were cuts around his eyes and he was trying to chuck water into them.”

Another witness, Zak Abdi, who shared footage from Stratford train station, told the Mirror Online he saw a substance thrown at a group of men “who looked like they were on their way to a club”.

“It didn’t hit just one person, it hit a crowd of people. One guy had been hit in the face, he kept shouting ‘I can’t see, I can’t see, I can’t see’.

“I think he has lost his vision. He kept shouting, it was a scary moment for everyone.”

Nate Higgins, 20, told The Independent he left Westfield shopping centre at about 8.30pm.

“I was in Westfield and I came out and saw all the police and ambulances.

“People weren’t panicking. It seemed like it was settled. But as I was leaving more and more ambulances and fire engines were showing up.

“There were more fire engines than I’ve ever seen in one place.”

Inside the Burger King toilets, water could reportedly be seen all over the floor, along with toilet tissue and medical gloves.

Some victims received treatment in Stratford station, which is directly opposite the shopping centre and close to the Olympic Park.

The incident is not being treated as terror-related, Scotland Yard said in a statement.

Paramedics and firefighters were also called, and a wide cordon was put in place.

Paul Gibson, LAS assistant director of operations, said: “We treated six patients in total and took three to London hospitals.”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in