WARNING: This report contains images of acid attack injuries some readers may find distressing. Discretion is advised.
A young woman has told of the horror of having acid thrown in her face as she prepared to celebrate her 21 birthday.
Resham Khan and her cousin Jameel Mukhtar, 37 were both doused in sulphuric acid as they sat in traffic at around 9am on 21 June in Beckton, east London.
As the acid burned their skin and eyes, they lost control of the vehicle they were in and crashed. With their clothes burning off them, the pair ran into the road begging for help. They were eventually taken to a local hospital by a passing motorist.
Resham suffered burns to her arms, legs, face and shoulder and will need skin grafts. The business management student was temporarily blinded in her left eye. Her cousin is in an induced coma with first degree burns across his whole body and face. His right eye is severely damaged and he too will need skin grafts.
Resham, who had just returned from a nine-month exchange programme in Cyprus, has since tweeted about the attack, revealing her devastation. She said: “I am so grateful to everyone that has prayed for me. I feel as though I’m blessed to have my limbs and senses. But I loved my face and body.
“Please all be proud and happy in your own skin. You’re all beautiful, I can’t stress it enough. Appreciate and love yourselves. I’m devastated. I keep wondering if my life will ever be the same.”
The 21-year-old was due to begin a new job working with young people in a social inclusion residential project but she is now unable to take her post. Daniel Mann, a former classmate of hers has set up a crowd funding page to help raise money for the pair’s recovery.
He wrote: “Resham is usually a very confident young woman. She was preparing to open her own business over the summer, and had plans to model for Asian bridal, make-up and hair artists. But now she feels as though her identity has been stolen from her, on her 21st birthday.
“Although we have faith justice will be served once the criminal is caught, the scars Resham and Jameel will carry will last a life time.”
A spokesman for the Met Police said: “Police were called at approximately 09:15hrs on Thursday, 21 June to reports that two occupants of a car had been sprayed with a corrosive substance in Tollgate Road E16.
“The occupants, a man aged 37 and a woman aged 21, were assisted by members of the public and had been taken to an east London hospital prior to the arrival of police and the London Ambulance Service.
“Both victims have suffered burn injuries described as life-changing.
“It is believed the victims were inside a parked car when a man approached and threw a corrosive substance through the open window.
“The car made off pursued by the suspect on foot before it collided with a fence. The suspect made off.
“Officers from Newham and the Met’s Territorial Support Group executed a warrant at an address in E16 on the afternoon of 21 June in connection with the incident. There were no arrests; enquiries continue.”