A homophobic gang who attacked a number of men near a London gay club with acid have been sent to jail for a total of 60 years.
The incident took place on the morning of 5 May 2018, after a verbal altercation began between an unidentified man and a member of a group sitting in cars in Hackney, London.
The man was then surrounded by the group who launched a ferocious attack, punching and kicking him for a sustained period. Some people leaving the Dalston Superstore gay club attempted to intervene to stop the attack with one of them – a man in his 20s – filming the assault.
The group then attacked the man who was filming, kicking him to the ground and attempting to steal his phone.
Some of this victim’s group went to their friend’s aid and a large brawl erupted. During this, Huseyin Onel – a member of the violent group – grabbed a bottle from a car and sprayed a “noxious substance” into the faces of a number of people.
Members of the victim’s group began to run from the scene but Onel “calmly targeted them,” spraying liquid at their faces as they attempted to flee. Others in Onel’s group were also involved in the corrosive substance attack.
Meanwhile, the attack continued on the victim who had filmed the initial assault. He was left with a fractured eye socket and corrosive burns to his eye. It was initially believed his injuries would be life changing, but his recovery was described by doctors as ‘miraculous’.
The suspects then got into three cars and drove from the scene, shouting homophobic comments. The original assault victim has never been identified.
The gang was sentenced at Wood Green Crown Court on Thursday. Onel, 24, was sentenced to 17 years in prison for his role in the attack. The others were sentenced to jail for periods ranging from 14-and-a-half years to 18 months, suspended for two years.
Detective Constable David Leitner, of the Central East Command Unit, who led the investigation, described the criminals as “violent and dangerous” and the attack as “truly shocking.”
“A group of people who were enjoying themselves at the end of a night out were subjected to a sustained and relentless wave of violence including the use of a corrosive substance – because they acted as good Samaritans to help a male being subjected to a vicious assault,” he said.
“The original victim who was attacked by the group has never been traced but I hope he, and all those who were set upon by this violent group of individuals, will take some comfort from the fact that this group has been convicted.”