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Appeal for witnesses to noxious substance assault

News   •   May 20, 2019 05:00 BST

[E-fit of man police need to identify]

Detectives investigating a noxious substance attack have released an e-fit of the man they would like to speak to in connection with the attack.

Police were called at around 11:30hrs on Monday, 8 April to reports of a noxious substance being thrown at a driver and passenger of a vehicle on County Road near the junction of Norbury Avenue in Thornton Heath.

Officers, the London Fire Brigade (LFB) and London Ambulance Service (LAS) attended. 

LAS took the two victims – a 63-year-old woman and a 13-year-old girl, who are known to each other – to a south London hospital where their injuries were deemed non-life threatening.

An assessment by the LFB concluded that the substance thrown at the two victims was sulphuric acid.

The victims and witnesses told police, via their interviews, that they had been driving along County Road towards Highbury Avenue when a white van started driving towards them. Due to the road not being wide enough for two cars to pass, the victim tried to move into a space in front of a parked motorbike. As she was trying to do this, the white van was driven forward so that it was parallel to the victim’s car. At this point, the victim wound down the driver’s side window to try and engage with the driver of the van, however before she could speak to the male driver, he squirted a liquid from a plastic ‘squeezy’ bottle hitting her and her passenger.

The suspect sped off from the scene along County Road before turning right onto Norbury Avenue.

Detectives are now appealing for anyone who may have been in the area at the time to review any CCTV or dashcam footage they may hold that could help with their investigation.

The victims have described the suspect as a white man, around 40 years old of chubby build, with ginger/grey hair and beard, and brown eyes. At the time of the offence, he was wearing a black jumper.

Detective Constable Ben Briselden, who is investigating the attack, said: “Luckily, neither victim suffered any long-term damage; however they have been left extremely shaken by this ordeal, and we are committed to pursuing every viable lead to bring the perpetrator to justice.

“I am very keen to hear from anyone who might have been in or around the area of the attack at 11:30hrs on Monday, 8 April and could be a potential witness.”

Anyone who has any footage or information that they believe could help with the investigation is asked to call police on 101 and quote CAD 2677/09APR.

Alternatively, please tweet @MetCC or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.