Three London men were sprayed with a concentrated ammonia solution in two separate attacks outside the Lightbox club in South Lambeth Place, Vauxhall.
One of the attacks was on a 23-year-old gay man from south-west London and his 21-year-old friend after they had begun talking to three people outside the club because it was after closing time, the Evening Standard reports:
When the women, said to be East European, discovered the pair were gay they began screaming homophobic abuse.
The 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 similar attack targeted a third man in a nearby location.
Said Scotland Yard to the paper: "Following comments made during the exchange, this incident is being treated as a homophobic hate crime."
All three men have been treated at hospitals and released.
Police released surveillance photos of the suspects.