Three violent carjackers have been found guilty of launching acid attacks on unsuspecting road users, with disabled former boxer Michael Watson and his carer among their victims.
Career robbers Simon Luck, 29, Paul Samuels, 31, and Anselm Legemah, 23, were found guilty of conspiracy to rob and spraying corrosive fluid ammonia on Thursday following a trial at Snaresbrook Crown Court, the Crown Prosecution Service confirmed.
Mr Watson, who was partially disabled after suffering a near-fatal brain injury during a WBO super-middleweight title clash with Chris Eubank in 1991, was a passenger in a Volkswagen Golf when it was shunted from behind and then commandeered by the assailants.
He was sprayed with acid then punched and kicked to the ground, saying the attack in Chingford, east London, in February 2017 was “like a nightmare”.
The 53-year-old former world title challenger said he was forced to hang on “for dear life” after he was dragged 500 yards along the road after becoming trapped by the seat belt and the car door as the suspects tried to make a getaway. They eventually abandoned the carjacking.
His friend and carer Lennard Ballack was in the car with Mr Watson at the time and was also sprayed in the face with the substance.
Mr Watson later told BBC Crimewatch: “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”.
The Metropolitan Police said a similar attack was carried out on two teenagers in a white Audi, days before Mr Watson and Mr Ballack were injured.
Luck was said to have been the driver, while Samuels and Legemah were also present.
Two of the men got out of the car and made their way over to the Audi.
One of the men, believed to be Samuels, then sprayed the driver in the face with noxious liquid. He suffered permanent damage to his eyes, the Met said.
Scotland Yard said Luck and Samuels were found guilty of two counts of conspiracy to commit robbery and applying a corrosive fluid with intent to burn, maim, disfigure or disable, or to inflict grievous bodily harm.
Legemah was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit robbery and applying a corrosive fluid with intent to burn, maim, disfigure or disable, or to inflict grievous bodily harm.
The men will be sentenced on September 21.
Richard Heatley, of CPS London North, said: “These three men acted together to steal cars. Samuels and Legemah wore hoods as they attacked their victims, while Luck drove the car.
“They were willing to cause serious harm by throwing corrosive substances and exposing their victims to great danger without regard for their safety.
“The prosecution was able to prove its case against each of them with a combination of evidence, including CCTV, DNA and phone evidence.
“Our message is clear. If you throw acid or any other corrosive substance you will have to face the consequences.”