'Acid ate into skin' after teen attack in Walworth which police were 'slow to investigate'

This video contains distressing images
  • The acid attack happened just weeks after Modinat's 18th birthday - video report by Helen Keenan

A teenager described how it felt like acid was "eating into her skin" after a substance was thrown at her in the street in Walworth, South London.

Modinat Raji said she fell to the floor after the horrifying assault on Walworth Road by a man she didn't know and police still haven't caught.

The 18-year-old accused officers of not taking her case seriously as Modinat recalled her painful experience in an interview with ITV News London.

"I was scrolling on my phone on TikTok on a bus and a man about two rows behind me said ‘can I put my headphones in or turn it off?’ Modinat said.

"And he doesn’t say it in a nice manner. From the start his tone was very angry. I just looked behind and I went back on my phone because I knew it wasn’t loud.

"Then he said it again angrily and before I could reply a boy I didn’t know sitting in front of me told him to stop shouting. They had an argument and was telling the boy to get off the bus.

"So I stepped in and said it wasn’t that serious. Then the man got off the bus so everyone thought it was finished.

"We got off at the next bus stop with my friend and some relatives. And within a minute I saw a cup at the side of my face thrown at my face and I fell face-first to the floor," she added.

Modinat said she thought it was acid straight away at which point she panicked and knew she had to throw water on herself.

Medics told her in the hospital she was hit with water mixed with a corrosive substance and if she hadn't been wearing glasses she may have lost her sight.

She added: "I don’t remember feeling a hot splash but I saw the cup and then fell to the floor.

"Everyone was screaming ‘acid, acid, acid!’ and I ran to the corner shop near me but the shopkeeper asked me to go outside.

"People were buying the big bottles of water. And they were pouring it over me, my clothes were soaking wet.

"Two college girls were asking if they should call an ambulance but I called my mum first.

"But they went and called the ambulance and police. When I was on the floor that’s when I could really feel the pain. When they stopped putting water I felt pain."

Below: A video taken by Modinat of her injuries

This video contains distressing images

When Modinat got to hospital there were no beds for her to immediately be treated. There was also dead skin over her face which the nurse started peeling off.

"She told me not to look in the mirror because I wouldn’t like the way I look, but I looked and I didn’t cry but I accepted it," she said.

Modinat was attacked in November 2022 just two weeks after her 18th birthday on the Number 12 bus.

The Met eventually called to say they had a suspect's face on CCTV and copies would be sent to local borough forces to look out for him. She hasn’t heard from police since.

"I feel that if I had life changing injuries police would have taken it more seriously," she explained.

"Knowing this man is still roaming around the streets doesn’t make me feel safe," she added.

Police said detectives from the Central South Command Unit launched an investigation and carried out a number of enquiries, including a review of local CCTV cameras.

Detective Chief Inspector Amanda Mawhinney added: "We are yet to identify a suspect in connection with this attack, and this will clearly be of concern to the victim.

"Tackling violence remains a priority for the Met, and any new information will be assessed. We will be making contact with the victim to explain the current status of the investigation and will listen to any concerns that she may have."

Anyone with information is asked to call 101 quoting CAD 5659/10Nov. To remain anonymously contact the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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