Me and my cousin just hours before the attack. (Cropped the rest of my family out) pic.twitter.com/dWGTuwTc4t— Resh (@ReshKay_) June 24, 2017
In a tragic incident, a 21-year-old woman and her cousin became victims of an unprovoked acid attack in London, United Kingdom.
Resham Khan, who is an aspiring model, and her cousin, Jameel Mukhtar, 37, were inside their car at a traffic signal in Beckton, East London, when the attacker threw acid into their car. The two were out celebrating Khan’s 21st birthday when they were left with “life-changing” injuries.
The cousins tried to drive off but were reportedly pursued by the suspect on foot before their car crashed into a fence. Khan and Mukhtar were then helped by the members of the public and were taken to a hospital in East London before the police arrived.
After they arrived at the hospital, Mukhtar was placed in an induced coma after he was diagnosed with burns across his head, face and body, damage to his eye and in need of a skin graft. Khan also needed a skin graft and suffered damage to her skin, left eye and across her face and body.
She bravely described the entire incident on a Twitter thread.
With plans to visit a spa and eat a nice meal in the city, having just got back from my exchange year in Cyprus, I got a train to London.— Resh (@ReshKay_) June 24, 2017
On my actual birthday, my cousin and I went for a drive in the morning, blasting music and chilling like cousins do, hyping it as I WAS 21????— Resh (@ReshKay_) June 24, 2017
Long story short, whilst at the lights, a man threw acid through my window and then went round to his and threw more.— Resh (@ReshKay_) June 24, 2017
“The pain was excruciating. My cousin struggled to get us away. I saw my clothes burn away in front of me. We stripped off in the middle of the road, running around screaming and begging for water. We did this for 45 minutes. Someone drove my naked cousin and me to the local hospital, and we were seen to. We have since been transferred to a specialist unit,” she added.
“I'm in a really bad way. I'm going to be scarred for life. I can't walk properly, I can't hear properly, I can't sleep,” said Mukhtar.
While speaking to Channel 4 news, Mukhtar said, “It's definitely a hate crime. I believe it's something to do with Islamophobia. Maybe he's got it in for Muslims because of the things that have been going on lately. I don't know if people are trying to retaliate. We're innocent people.”
“We didn't deserve that. I've never seen this guy in my life. I don't have any problems with anybody. My cousin is 21, she's a business student. Why would anyone do that to us?” he added.
However, police think otherwise: Metropolitan Police confirmed there is no current information to suggest that this attack was racially or religiously motivated and added that the incident is being investigated.
“I would like to reassure the public that our continued focus remains on finding the person responsible for this horrendous act of violence,” said Detective Superintendent Neil Matthews of the Metropolitan Police.
In connection with the attack, Metropolitan Police released an image of the suspect, John Tomlin, 24, and are appealing for information on his whereabouts. Police have warned the public not to approach him but to dial 999 immediately if they see him.
Khan, a business management student, had recently completed nine months’ worth of study in Cyprus, Turkey, and was looking to start her new job. In order to help the two, fellow students have set up a fundraising page.
“She feels as though her identity has been stolen from her. The scars Resham and Jameel carry will last a lifetime,” reads the page.
As of now, nearly £32,000 ($41,635) has been raised on the online fundraising page.
Far-Right Extremist John Tomlin is the suspect Police r looking 4 in London acid attack on 2Muslims- this is Resham b4& after & suspect pic.twitter.com/nJ4qwMXUkj— Aamer Anwar (@AamerAnwar) June 30, 2017
A white supremacist in London threw acid on an aspiring model of East Indian descent and left her with severe burns https://t.co/1x3exZF8K4— Tariq Nasheed (@tariqnasheed) June 30, 2017
Just hearing of another acid attack in the Shadwell area of east london. This is getting absolutely out of hand. @metpoliceuk any action?— Murshid (@MurshHabib) June 29, 2017
Have you seen this man, John Tomlin 24 accused of acid attack on two Muslims in London. Call crimestoppers. Do not approach he is dangerous pic.twitter.com/q3Whf7fqM0— Mohammed Shafiq (@mshafiquk) June 29, 2017