1. ITV Report

Care assistant, 60, victim of random acid attack

Rita Cartwright, 60, was the victim of a random acid attack in Merseyside Photo: Echo Syndication

A care assistant was attacked by a gang who threw acid on her as she walked home from work in Merseyside.

Rita Cartwright had just finished a 12-hour shift when she was targeted and verbally abused by the group of teenagers.

The 60-year-old was walking along Ashville Road, close to Birkenhead Park, Birkenhead, on Wednesday at around 8.10pm when four males approached her.

Rita said:

They came out of the gate at Birkenhead Park, one of them on a motorbike and three others on pushbikes.

"...and then I saw one of them put their hand up as if to throw something."

– Rita Cartwright
Doctors are still unsure about the extent of her injuries Credit: Echo Syndication

Mum-of-three Rita said she kept walking but could feel a burning sensation on her foot the whole way.

It was only as she went to get into the bath after returning from work that she noticed something was wrong.

She added:

I dipped my foot into the water and it stung really badly so I took a few painkillers and went to bed but it just kept getting worse.

"Something had corroded the front of my foot, my toes and my toenails.

"I went to the hospital and the doctor said it had been acid so I called police to report it."

– Rita Cartwright

Rita said:

I have to go back on Sunday for it to be redressed but I don't know how long it is going to take to heal or how long I will be off work.

"It is really sore and has begun to blister but it is more frightening than anything else."

– Rita Cartwright

Rita, who lives in Prenton, says she doesn't think she will be able to walk home from work any more and that the incident has left her scared and uneasy.

She added:

"I had already changed my route home that night because I usually walk through the park but noticed there were some teenagers hanging about so I decided to walk round.

"I thought staying close to the main road would mean I was safer."

– Rita Cartwright

Merseyside police confirmed they were investigating the incident and that they were looking for four males aged around 16 or 17.

The suspects were described as wearing dark or grey clothing and two had Parka-style coats with fur around the collar. All wore their hoods up.

Detective Inspector Brian O’Hagan said:

This was a shocking and unprovoked attack. It appears that the liquid thrown was some kind of corrosive substance. Thankfully the victim has not suffered any serious or permanent injuries but was obviously left distressed by her ordeal.

“I would appeal to anyone who was in the vicinity of Ashville Road or Birkenhead Park on Wednesday evening who believes they may have witnessed something or have any clues to the identity of the males involved to contact us.

“We believe that following this incident the males verbally abused a man walking a brown dog on the opposite side of the road. I would also appeal to this person to come forward as he may have information which could be vital to our investigation.”

– Detective Inspector Brian O’Hagan, Merseyside Police
  • Anyone with information is asked to DM @MerPolCC, call 101 or contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.