The man, who was captured chatting with two females on CCTV shortly before the crimes took place, allegedly sprayed bleach in the faces of three different gay men while the women shouted homophobic slurs. According to one 23-year-old victim who chooses to remain anonymous, the man sprayed bleach from a water bottle directly into his eyes, and later into his 21-year-old friend’s throat.
The three attacks happened in quick succession outside The Lightbox in Vauxhall. According to reports, the first two victims struck up conversation with the two females after all had been refused admission to the club because it was closed. When the women discovered the victims were gay, they began shouting slurs.
He recalls to The Standard:
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. ”
The third attack happened minutes later and “just yards away.”
Police are treating the attack as a hate crime based on the language used during the verbal altercation. The women came forward to police after being identified on CCTV, but claim no responsibility for the attacks and have not been arrested.
The owner of The Lightbox released a statement, separating the club from the incident. “Unfortunately, there was a homophobic attack outside the cafe by Vauxhall Bus Station early on Sunday morning,” writes Mark Williams. “This was an isolated incident and we have been speaking to police since it occurred, including supplying them with our CCTV footage of the local Vauxhall area. The police have confirmed there is no direct link with the venue or our customers.”
All three victims are expected to make a full recovery. London police are urging anyone with information that may identify the man in the blue jacket to call 0208 649 2176 or 07909 906 168.
Update June 13: The Standard reported last night that a 31-year-old male had been arrested in connection to the crimes.
Today, he has been identified as Jonathan William Lynn of Dorking Close, Worcester Park. He appeared at Camberwell Green Magistrates Court today to face charges:
Jonathan William Lynn, 31, has now been charged with wounding with intent, three counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm (ABH) and possession of a weapon for discharge of a noxious liquid/ gas in connection with the incident.