Robbery Victim Temporarily  Blinded By Female Tram Attackers

Woman was on her way home from Wimbledon

A woman who had been shopping in Wimbledon was left temporarily blinded after she was attacked as she got off the tram to go home.

The 21-year-old victim had the top layers of both her eyes burnt off after the two female robbers sprayed a liquid into her face. It meant she was temporarily blinded while the attackers robbed her.

Police are appealing to witnesses to the attack, which took place around 4pm on Sunday March 4 on the Tramway Path at the Mitcham tramstop.

The victim was on her way home from Wimbledon when was approached by two women. One of them was holding what appeared to be a water bottle with a sports cap on it. Without warning one of the suspects sprayed the contents of the bottle into her face which caused her to fall to her knees.

She immediately started to experience a burning sensation on her eyes and face. As she was struggling to cope with the impact of the liquid on her face the two suspects robbed her.

They took her purse from her handbag containing £15 cash, her bank cards and driving licence. They then left the scene via the tram platform.

Despite her injuries the victim managed to phone 999. She was taken to hospital by the London Ambulance Service where she received immediate treatment.

Her eyes were burnt and her face was swollen from the unknown chemical and she had lost her vision. She was released from hospital later in the evening but has to return regularly for further specialist treatment.

The medical examination has shown that the top layers of both eyes have been burnt off and although the victim's eyesight is improving medical treatment continues.

It is not yet known what the liquid was and further tests are being carried out to try and establish what it is.

It is known that the two suspects were travelling on the same tram as the victim and may have targeted her because she was alone and carrying shopping bags.

Two suspects have been identified, arrested and bailed to return pending further enquiries. Police would now appeal to any witnesses who saw the attack and would be able to identify the suspects again to come forward.

The officer in the case Detective Constable Simon Callcott, said: "This young lady has been subjected to an appalling and completely unprovoked attack which may result in her sight being permanently impaired. This type of attack is extremely rare and I would urge anyone who has any information to contact police.

"I know that there are many people who may have witnessed the attack or who may have seen the suspects on the tram. It is vital that any person who saw the attack contacts me to assist in the investigation."

The suspects are described as follows:

[1] A light-skinned black female with long wavy hair wearing a woollen hat and dark clothing including a jacket with a fur lined hood or collar

[2] A light-skinned black female with long hair and a fringe. She was wearing a short black leather jacket and green tracksuit trousers with three white stripes down each side. She was also wearing a black scarf which she used to wrap around her head before the attack.

Anyone with information is urged to contact police in the strictest confidence on 020 8649 4044. If you wish to remain anonymous please call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

April 1, 2012