Two gay men were sprayed with bleach in a homophobic attack in London over the weekend.
One of the men has been told he may lose his eyesight following the attack, which took place outside the Lightbox club in South Lambeth Place, Vauxhall, in the early hours of Sunday morning (June 8).
The 23-year-old, and his 21-year-old friend, who have asked to remain anonymous, struck up a conversation with a man and two women outside the venue, after they were refused admission.
According to the London Evening Standard
, the two women started shouting homophobic abuse at them when they realised that they were gay. The man proceeded to follow them, before attacking them with concentrated ammonia solution.
A third man was sprayed with bleach just minutes later, but no motive has been established for that attack.
The 23-year-old victim said: “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.
“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. He poured every last drop onto us and then turned around and walked away, like it was mission accomplished.
"The chemical burnt the cornea in my left eye and the vision hasn’t cleared since. The doctors said it should hopefully return but there is no guarantee. My friend’s tongue was swollen and it looked like someone had scratched part of it away. It was horrible."
A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "In the first incident, at approximately 4am on Sunday, the substance was sprayed at two men outside the Lightbox nightclub in South Lambeth Place, Vauxhall. This followed a verbal exchange between the two men and a group outside the venue.
"Following comments made during the exchange, this incident is being treated as a homophobic hate crime. A short time later, police were made aware of a third man who had also been sprayed in the face with a substance in the vicinity of the nightclub. No motive is known for this incident.
"All three men were treated at hospital and their injuries are not believed to be serious. Officers believe the same man was responsible for both incidents."
Officers from Lambeth Community Safety Unit are investigating and ask anyone who recognises the people in the images, or has information about the incidents, to contact them on 0208 649 2176 or 07909 906 168.
> RFL player being investigated for alleged homophobic slur
> Web reviews claim ‘homophobic’ restaurant is a gay bar