By Tim Parsons-
Three men have been convicted of carrying out acid attacks on road users, with the former boxer Michael Watson and his carer
Simon Luck, 29, Paul Samuels, 31, and Anselm Legemah, 23, were all found guilty on Thursday of conspiracy to rob, and spraying corrosive fluid after a trial at Snaresbrook crown court
Watson, who is disabled after sustaining a near-fatal brain injury during a WBO super-middleweight title clash with Chris Eubank in 1991, Watson was attacked at Chingford, East London, when as a passenger in a Volkswagen Golf, he was confronted by his attackers who were in a car behind him.
The ex boxer was sprayed with acid, punched and kicked to the ground. The 53-year-old former top boxer is wheel chair bound after becoming disabled following a WBO super-middleweight title clash with Chris Eubank in 1991.to 1998. Watson held the WBO middleweight and super middleweight belts for over 5 years , and contributed to making boxing one of the most exciting during his era.
Watson’s friend and carer Lennard Ballack, was also in the car with the former boxer and was sprayed in the face with the substance too. Cops said the attack was a copy of another executed out on two teenagers in an Audi days before Watson and Ballack were injured. Mr Watson later told BBC Crimewatch: “It became like a nightmare. I couldn’t believe it was happening”.
Watson was dragged 500 yards along the road after becoming trapped by the seat belt and the car door as the suspects tried to flee. They eventually abandoned the car. Less than two weeks earlier, on February 4th, Samuels and Legemah stole a white Audi S3 from a petrol station forecourt in Loughton, Essex. The ruthless pair were driving a stolen Mercedes Benz when they persuaded the driver to open his window by pretending they needed a cigarette lighter, then took his car after squirting him with ammonia, and inflicting permanent damage on their victims
One of the perpetrators of the second attack was identified as 31 year old Paul Samuels, and he sprayed the Audi driver in the face with a noxious liquid inflicting permanent damage to his eyes. Luck and Samuels were found guilty of two counts of conspiracy to commit robbery and applying a corrosive fluid with intent to burn, maim, disfigure or disable, or to inflict grievous bodily harm.
Legemah was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit robbery and applying a corrosive fluid with intent to burn, maim, disfigure or disable, or to inflict grievous bodily harm. The men will be sentenced on 21 September.
Richard Heatley, a district crown prosecutor, said: “These men were willing to cause serious harm by throwing corrosive substances and exposing their victims to great danger.”