At least 12 people were injured when an unidentified man threw acidic substance at the people packed inside London’s Mangle nightclub on April 17, 2017, a day after Easter. A spokesman of the London Fire Brigade confirmed the incident and said that an “unknown corrosive substance” was thrown in Mangle in the early hours of Monday.
This incident raises concerns about the rising trend of using the corrosive substance in attacks in public spaces in London. Let us take a look at some of these attacks.
1. Police outside the Mangle Nightclub.
The April 17 attack at Mangle nightclub is one among many others that have been carried out in London. The Police gathered outside the nightclub after the attack and said in a statement that all the injuries on the 12 people were “non-life threatening,” and the incident was not related to terrorism. Following the attack, the streets around the club have been closed to traffic as the investigations are underway. However, no arrests have been made.
Australian sisters among the victims of the acid attack.
Among the 12 people injured are the two Australian sisters who sustained injuries. Isobella Fraser is a 22-year-old model in Sydney who had come to London to meet her sister Prue (20), who works as a nanny in London. Prue, who was separated from her sister during the incident, said that she thought it was a terrorist attack.
“I thought oh my God, I’m going to die. I honestly thought it was some sort of terrorist attack,” said Prue. Isobella too felt the same. She said, “I couldn’t breathe, I thought we were getting gassed, I thought it was a terrorist attack.
A collage of images on acid attack.
There has been a sharp rise in the number of acid attacks in London in the last four years. According to the Met Police, data cited by the BBC on March 20, 2017, there were more than 1,800 reports of attacks involving corrosive fluids in London since 2010. The data shows that in 2016, acid was used in 454 crimes, compared to 261 in 2015.
Jaf Shah, the Executive Director of the support group Acid Survivors Trust International (ASTI), said, “Looking at the data in general, there is a fairly large probability that a high percentage of the incidents are male on male attacks and most likely to be gang related. The numbers appear to be very high and suggest an increase, which is very concerning.”
2. A family including toddler attacked in London.
Earlier this month, on April 7, 2017, three people of a Chinese family, including a two-year-old boy and his parents, suffered burns after acid was thrown at them by unidentified persons on an Islington Street in London. The father, aged 40, reportedly suffered “life-changing” injuries.
3. British-Pakistani man attacked in Degenham
British Pakistani businessman Imran Khan, 37, left with horrific burns after acid attack in Dagenham, east london, by a white racist gang pic.twitter.com/yPNRMeaEhE
— Arosa Mughal (@ArosaMughal) 16 Νοεμβρίου 2016
Last year, on November 17, 2016, a British-Pakistani man, identified as Imran Khan (37), suffered severe burns after a gang of teenage boys threw acid on his face in Dagenham in east London. Recalling the horrific incident, Imran said, “There were a group of 13 or 14 of them – they just surrounded me. They started swearing at me, and I didn’t know what to do. They took the food off me and threw it at my face.”
4. Carla Whitlock attacked for a wrong business deal.
In another acid attack with a different motive a woman, identified as Carla Whitlock (37), was attacked with a drain cleaner containing highly concentrated sulphuric acid while she was walking in Southampton city centre on September 18, 2015. She was blinded in one eye.
The accused… Billy Midmore & Geoffrey Midmore.
Following the investigations, two brothers accused of the crime were jailed in June 2016. According to details, Billy Midmore (23), who was found guilty of causing grievous bodily harm with intent, was jailed for 15 years with a further five years on licence. His brother, Geoffrey Midmore (27), who had pleaded guilty to the same charge was jailed for nine years. While sentencing the duo, Judge Peter Ralls QC said, “Your behaviour displays a level of medieval barbarism that is appalling.”
5. Wayne Inglod victim of “mistaken identity” attack.
Earlier on August 8, 2014, a 57-year old man, identified as Wayne Ingold, was badly injured in an acid attack outside his flat in Witham, Essex. That was a result of “mistaken identity” attack, but it scarred Inglod for life.
Inglod soon after the attack.
Two teenagers, identified as Aarron Isaac (19) and Jake McCabe (16), who were accused of the crime were sentenced for this acid attack in November 2015. The jury at Chelmsford Crown Court after a week-long trial found the duo guilty of the heinous crime.
Stop Acid Attacks in London!
Acid is a new preferred weapon for gangs and disgruntled individuals to create fear and havoc in society. This may be because of the ease to obtain the product. Some experts have suggested that criminal gangs may be switching from carrying knives to acid because it could lower the risk of prosecution.