A young woman was left seriously injured, and her cousin in a coma, after the pair were ambushed in an acid attack that took place on her 21st birthday.
Resham Khan, 21, and her cousin, Jameel Muhktar, 37, were driving through Beckton, east London, on the morning of June 21, celebrating Resham’s birthday, listening to music and enjoying her return after nine months studying in Cyprus.
But as they pulled up to a red light, an unidentified man threw a corrosive substance through both the passenger and the driver’s windows, in a callous and brutal attack that has left the pair with grave injuries.
Ms Khan, a Business Management student at Manchester Met university, has shared the story of the horrific ordeal on social media in a bid to find the assailant.
It has since received floods of well-wishes and over 6,000 retweets.
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
The pain was excruciating I was struggling to close the window. My cousin struggled to get us away. I saw my clothes burn away infront of me
We stripped off in the middle of the road, running around screaming and begging for water. We did this for 45 minutes. No ambulance came.
The police have asked me questions but no one has yet took a statement. The attack was on Wednesday. Today is Saturday.
My cousin was put into a coma as his burns were worst. He was been woken up and I’m waiting to be told I’m no longer bed bound to visit him.
I know a lot of people are confused & want to know what’s happened, yet I can’t reply to everyone, plus I am waiting for my sight to recover
Why is this not in the news? Why haven’t they found him? Plenty of witnesses, who know him. With a very distinct facial tattoo I described
My 21st birthday. My glow up complete. Just got back to the country. And now I’ll probably never look the same.
In the account, the young woman said she watched her clothes burn away as she struggled with the ‘excruciating’ pain.
Though Mr Muhktar tried to drive away from the attacker he crashed the car when the ‘pain took over’ and the pair were forced to strip naked on the A13 and beg passersby for water to help stop the agonising pain.
A kind stranger pulled over to help and drove the pair to hospital where Jameel was put into an induced coma due to the severity of his injuries. He has since woken up. Meanwhile, Resham was given a skin graft but is still bed-bound and unable to see her cousin.
The brave 21-year-old, whose sight has been damaged as well as much of the skin on her upper body, said:
I’m devastated. I keep wondering if my life will ever be the same. Acid attacks in the UK are unheard of for me. My 21st birthday. My glow up complete. Just got back to the country. And now I’ll probably never look the same.
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. I just want this guy caught.
I have gave my statement and the police officer is certain he will be found and sent away for a long time. But what about my face? That is forever.
A friend of Resham and fellow student, Daniel Mann, has now set up a GoFundMe page to raise £8,000 to pay for treatment for Resham and her cousin, with the funds going towards therapy sessions and laser eye treatment.
Mr Mann explained that this attack has caused Resham and Jameel to’ put their lives on hold’, adding, ‘Resham had not been back in the UK for longer than a week before the attack happened. She had spent the last nine months on an exchange program in Cyprus. Resham was also due to start her new job on July 2, which she can no longer do.’
He added: “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.”
However, Mann is determined to help the victims ‘see that this is temporary and things will get back to normal.’
A spokesperson from 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.
The statement continued: “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.”
No arrests have been made, but enquiries into the attack continue.