A fast food delivery driver who “bravely” fought back against robbers before he was attacked with acid is in an induced coma and may lose his sight.
The victim, on a moped and on his way to deliver a pizza, was approached by two men who were also on a moped at around 6pm on Thursday on Walpole Road, Walthamstow, east London.
A teenage boy has been arrested on suspicion of GBH in relation to the attack, Scotland Yard said.
Detectives are also investigating a second incident in which a corrosive substance was used a short time afterwards, and say they “strongly suspect” the two incidents are linked.
The men attempted to steal the Walpole Road victim’s moped, and during the course of the attempted robbery police believe a corrosive substance was repeatedly thrown on the victim’s face.
The 32-year-old man was treated at the scene and taken to an east London hospital where he remains in a critical condition and is likely to lose the sight in both eyes.
Detective Chief Inspector Gordon Henderson, of Waltham Forest CID, said local residents helped by putting water on his wounds.
“The medical team continue to try and do as much as they can to help him.
“He’s got clear facial injuries. There is a strong possibility that he may have lost the sight in his eyes.
“And as I say he continues to have assistance in breathing and he’s in an induced coma at the moment,” he said.
Describing what happened, he said: “The victim in Waltham Forest bravely fought back against his attackers.
“They tried to take his moped from him, were constantly asking for his keys, threatening him and then they’ve reached into the carrier bag on their moped and have retrieved the corrosive substance and sprayed that on our victim’s face.”
Half an hour later, at about 6.30pm, on Yarmouth Crescent in Tottenham, a second man was also attacked with a corrosive substance.
This man, also a 32-year-old delivery driver, was approached by two men on a scooter who attempted to steal his moped and a corrosive substance was sprayed on his face.
This man was also treated in hospital, but his injuries are not believed to be life-threatening or life-changing.
Mr Henderson said: “We strongly suspect that both incidents are linked.”
He added: “The method that had been used is very similar. Their intentions are similar.
“They’re linked in close proximity in both geographical location and in time frame as well.”