Guilty: Ammonia-wielding carjackers from Newham who attacked former boxer Michael Watson
PUBLISHED: 16:21 13 September 2018 | UPDATED: 17:46 13 September 2018
Three ammonia-wielding carjackers who dragged former boxer Michael Watson down the road by his seatbelt during an attempted robbery have been convicted.
Simon Luck, 29, and Paul Samuels, 31, both of Bluebell Avenue, Manor Park, were today found guilty of conspiracy to rob and of applying a corrosive fluid alongside 23-year-old Anselm Legemah, of Elkington Road, Plaistow.
Snaresbrook Crown Court heard how they targeted Mr Watson and his carer as they drove through Chingford in February last year, with the latter being sprayed in the face and eyes with ammonia and also kicked and punched.
Mr Watson, who was partially disabled in a boxing match with Chris Eubank in 1991, was trapped by his seatbelt in the car door and dragged 500 yards along the road.
The gang then abandoned their attempt to steal the car, leaving the bottle of ammonia on the front seat.
The court heard how less than two weeks earlier, Samuels and Legemah stole a white Audi S2 from a petrol station forecourt in Loughton, Essex.
They persuaded the 19-year-old driver Bradley Robinson to open his window by asking for a cigarette lighter, then squirted ammonia into his eyes and face, causing him permanent damage, before ordering him out of the car and driving it away.
Mr Robinson’s passenger, a 16-year-old girl, suffered burns on her legs and was forced to jump out of the car as it was moving.
The robbers used a stolen Mercedes to carry out the two attacks. Days after the Chingford offence, the crashed car was found with the airbag deployed. Luck’s DNA was found on the airbag and a bottle of ammonia, the same brand used in both offences, was found under the passenger seat.
Senior district crown prosecutor Richard Heatley 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 and DNA and phone evidence.
“Our message is clear. If you throw acid or any other corrosive substance you will have to face the consequences.”
In a victim impact statement, Mr Robinson said: “As soon as the acid hit me I was immediately terrified.
“My passenger, had to jump from the moving car. It took 15-20 minutes before I could feel my face and eyes burning. It hit me all at once. The incident has had a negative impact on every aspect of my life and will continue to do so for the rest of my life.”
All three will be sentenced on Friday, 21 September.