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  1. ITV Report

Carjackers who doused former boxer Michael Watson with ammonia jailed

Boxing legend Michael Watson speaking outside court after his attackers were sentenced told ITV News that Credit: PA

Three carjackers who carried out a spate of violent attacks, including dousing the "sporting legend" Michael Watson with ammonia, have been jailed.

The 53-year-old, who was partially disabled after suffering a near-fatal brain injury during a fight with Chris Eubank in 1991, was dragged at least 150 metres along the road as the gang of robbers tried to steal the car he was travelling in with his carer last year.

Simon Luck, 29 and Paul Samuels, 31, of Bluebell Avenue, Manor Park and Anselm Legemah, 23, of Elkington Road, Plaistow, were found guilty of conspiracy to rob and spraying the corrosive fluid ammonia last week following a trial at Snaresbrook Crown Court.

Today Luck and Samuels were each sentenced to 16 years in prison in relation to the carjackings and Legemah, was jailed for a total of 16 years.

Luck was further sentenced to four years after being found guilty of two counts of possession of class A drugs with intent to supply, namely heroin and crack cocaine.

On hearing his attackers' sentence the former middleweight champion told ITV News he’s "very pleased justice has been served".

  • Watch Michael Watson's reaction to his attackers' sentences

Mr Watson said: "I'm very pleased they're off the streets. I hope this sends a good message to those out doing the same thing in society.

"It is truly a miracle I'm still here standing. I'm doing my best to get myself back on track."

Of his current condition he said: "I'm not 100% but I'm a fighter."

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From left, Anselm Legemah, Paul Samuels and Simon Luck. Credit: Metropolitan Police/PA

CCTV footage of the "nightmare" incident showed Mr Watson being dragged on the road near his home in in Chingford, east London.

In a short victim impact statement, read to the court by prosecutor Robert Evans, Mr Watson said: “Since this ordeal I have suffered nothing but flashbacks. I have suffered from five or six physical seizures due to the stress.”

Adding that he now feels anxious, he said: “I feel sickened, mentally stressed by what these people have done to me.”

Bottle of ammonia found in the stolen car used by Anselm Legemah, Simon Luck and Paul Samuels when carrying out a violent carjacking on boxer Michael Watson. Credit: PA

Mr Watson’s friend and carer Lennard Ballack, who had been driving the car, was attacked by Samuels who sprayed a clear liquid in his face.

Mr Ballack, whose “screams of pain” were heard by witnesses, was then punched and kicked as the attack continued, now involving Luck, the second attacker.

Mr Watson was dragged along the road as Samuels drove the car off at high speed in The Ridgeway, having been unable to escape after becoming caught in his seatbelt.

The attackers eventually abandoned the carjacking.

Sentencing the trio, His Honour Judge Oscar del Fabbro said they had unwittingly attacked a “sporting legend”.

He said: “He rose to considerable fame as a world champion contender and he was made of sterner stuff both physically and mentally, unlike any of you sitting there in the dock.”

Former boxer Michael Watson (right) with his carer Lennard Ballack. Credit: PA

Speaking to BBC Crimewatch at the time he said: “It became like a nightmare. I couldn’t believe it was happening.

“It felt like my skin was peeling off. I was hanging on for dear life.”

He described the trio as “evil thugs”.