A 31-year-old man has been arrested for his alleged participation in homophobic bleach attacks that occurred early Sunday morning outside the Lightbox venue in the United Kingdom. The individual who is suspected of carrying out the attacks is being held in South London.
The first of the homophobic bleach attacks happened when two men were sprayed after a verbal exchange between them and a group that were standing outside of the club. Reportedly, the pair were discussing how they were not allowed to enter because the doorman insisted it was past closing time Shortly after that, the police received reports of a another man who had also been a victim of a attack after being sprayed in the face with a similar or identical substance near the club.
The company that owns the venue has issued a statement assuring that these homophobic bleach attacks were isolated incidents. They also added that police have confirmed the perpetrator was not directly targeting the venue or its patrons. Still, they opted to close the doors of the venue following the attacks, and did not have any events scheduled for the following morning.
In a further effort to provide reassurance following the homophobic bleach attacks, a police chief superintendent named Richard Wood was quoted in an article from Pink News as saying the police force “will take a robust approach to those who commit crimes motivated by any form of hate or discrimination.”
Speaking to the London Evening Standard, one of the victims, whose name has not been revealed for legal reasons, said, “The chemical burnt the cornea in my left eye and the vision hasn’t cleared since. The doctors said it should hopefully return, but there is no guarantee.” He also spoke about how one of the friends he was with got sprayed in the mouth with bleach and received a swollen tongue.
In addition to the man who was arrested, one of the victims says the suspect was accompanied by two women who allegedly started screaming homophobic slurs. However, they have not been detained by law enforcement for suspected roles in the homophobic bleach attacks.
Police have not yet established a motive for the attacks. However, they have said how at least the first incident with the two men who were sprayed in the eyes and mouth is being treated as a homophobic hate crime. Also, due to the substance used to cause harm during the homophobic bleach attacks, law enforcement officials say the incidents were premeditated.
[Image Credit: London Attractions Guide]