Police search for two men after man, 56, suffered serious burns in 'random' chemical attack

The police cordon in Bramble Road, Witham

The police cordon in Bramble Road, Witham

First published in News
Last updated
by , Reporter

A man has suffered "life-changing" chemical burns after he was attacked for no reason on his doorstep.

The 56-year-old man had gone down to collect his post from the communal entrance to a block of flats in Bramble Road, Witham shortly before 10.45am today when he encountered the two men banging on the door.

Following a brief exchange the two men threw the unknown liquid, which was in a glass bottle, over the man and ran off.

He has suffered injuries to his hands and face consistent with the use of a harmful liquid.

He was subsequently taken by ambulance to Broomfield Hospital for treatment.

His injuries are not believed to be life threatening but are potentially life changing.

Detective Inspector Leighton Hammett, of Braintree CID, said: "The information that we have currently gathered suggests that the victim was not the intended target of this attack.

"Unfortunately he appears to have been in the wrong place at the wrong time.

"The two suspects are described as a white man and a black man and if anyone saw them, either in the area prior to this attack or afterwards, we would urgently like to speak to them.”

Police are conducting investigations at the scene but a cordon initially put in place in the road has now been released.

Anyone with information about the attack is asked to call Essex Police at Braintree CID on 101 or ring Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Comments (7)

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9:10pm Fri 8 Aug 14

/@|_|@\ says...

Huh. I've seen this sort of thing before with "harmful liquids". The specific one that is most insidious and comes to mind is Dihydrogen Monoxide (DMHO).

DHMO is a colorless and odorless chemical compound, also referred to as Dihydrogen Oxide, Hydrogen Hydroxide, Hydronium Hydroxide, or simply Hydric acid. It's known to mutate DNA, denature proteins, disrupt cell membranes, and chemically alter critical neurotransmitters. The atomic components of DHMO are found in a number of caustic, explosive and poisonous compounds such as Sulfuric Acid, Nitroglycerine and Ethyl Alcohol.

Surprisingly, even the U.S. Government and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) do not classify Dihydrogen Monoxide as a toxic or carcinogenic substance (as it does with better known chemicals such as hydrochloric acid and benzene) even though DHMO is a constituent of many toxic substances, diseases and disease-causing agents, environmental hazards and can even be lethal to humans in quantities as small as a thimbleful.

I wonder if this is the harmful chemical that was used? This is serious stuff and it is now everywhere throughout the entire civilised world.
Huh. I've seen this sort of thing before with "harmful liquids". The specific one that is most insidious and comes to mind is Dihydrogen Monoxide (DMHO). DHMO is a colorless and odorless chemical compound, also referred to as Dihydrogen Oxide, Hydrogen Hydroxide, Hydronium Hydroxide, or simply Hydric acid. It's known to mutate DNA, denature proteins, disrupt cell membranes, and chemically alter critical neurotransmitters. The atomic components of DHMO are found in a number of caustic, explosive and poisonous compounds such as Sulfuric Acid, Nitroglycerine and Ethyl Alcohol. Surprisingly, even the U.S. Government and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) do not classify Dihydrogen Monoxide as a toxic or carcinogenic substance (as it does with better known chemicals such as hydrochloric acid and benzene) even though DHMO is a constituent of many toxic substances, diseases and disease-causing agents, environmental hazards and can even be lethal to humans in quantities as small as a thimbleful. I wonder if this is the harmful chemical that was used? This is serious stuff and it is now everywhere throughout the entire civilised world. /@|_|@\
  • Score: -10

1:39am Sat 9 Aug 14

Boris says...

Civilised?
Civilised? Boris
  • Score: 2

7:20am Sat 9 Aug 14

OMPITA [Intl] says...

It's sold in my local corner shop where it is displayed on a shelf inches away from kiddies crayons; face paints; Pritt Stick and so on.

There are apparently no restrictions on who may purchase it.

When I once suggested that perhaps it ought to be kept 'behind the counter' in order to at least ensure some modicum of control I was simply met with a look of pitiful incredulity.

It belongs alongside the 'My Little Pony' scrapbook stickers and glitter dust - and that's where it stays!

Only fairly recently (up here in Planet Zog) we had an instance of a young woman being grossly mutilated in an incident similar to that being reported in Witham.

I fear there will be an increasing incidence of attacks of this nature as its popularity spreads. It's already 'de rigueur' in some parts of the world (India for example) where it is frequently used as a particularly cruel but 'cheap and convenient' form of vicious attack - especially on women.

Maybe Ladbrokes will offer some odds on when and where the next attack will occur. I wouldn't put it past them.
It's sold in my local corner shop where it is displayed on a shelf inches away from kiddies crayons; face paints; Pritt Stick and so on. There are apparently no restrictions on who may purchase it. When I once suggested that perhaps it ought to be kept 'behind the counter' in order to at least ensure some modicum of control I was simply met with a look of pitiful incredulity. It belongs alongside the 'My Little Pony' scrapbook stickers and glitter dust - and that's where it stays! Only fairly recently (up here in Planet Zog) we had an instance of a young woman being grossly mutilated in an incident similar to that being reported in Witham. I fear there will be an increasing incidence of attacks of this nature as its popularity spreads. It's already 'de rigueur' in some parts of the world (India for example) where it is frequently used as a particularly cruel but 'cheap and convenient' form of vicious attack - especially on women. Maybe Ladbrokes will offer some odds on when and where the next attack will occur. I wouldn't put it past them. OMPITA [Intl]
  • Score: -4

9:33am Sat 9 Aug 14

keith_l says...

Ompy - DiHydrogen Oxide is in plentiful supply and virtually harmless - unless it is in sufficient quantities to fill your lungs or block your airways.

Several thousand litres of it fell out of the sky over Witham last night, and I usually get what I need of it from my tap.

Why trivialise an important and serious issue with your attempt at humour?

Personally, I hope the individual concerned gets better, and quickly, although I doubt if it was random. It may, however, have been mistaken identity.
Ompy - DiHydrogen Oxide is in plentiful supply and virtually harmless - unless it is in sufficient quantities to fill your lungs or block your airways. Several thousand litres of it fell out of the sky over Witham last night, and I usually get what I need of it from my tap. Why trivialise an important and serious issue with your attempt at humour? Personally, I hope the individual concerned gets better, and quickly, although I doubt if it was random. It may, however, have been mistaken identity. keith_l
  • Score: 2

1:29pm Sat 9 Aug 14

OMPITA [Intl] says...

Actually Keith I was referring to a certain proprietary Drain Cleaning Fluid. I have a bottle of the said stuff from the said shop in front of me right now.

Yes, I acknowledge that it does contain harmless DiHydrogen Oxide at 9% of the volume. However the other 91% consists of Sulphuric Acid - and very potent stuff it is too!

My comments were sincerely meant to be serious (for once!)

I admit however to not having read my learned friend /@|_|@\'s erudite submission word for word for word - does anyone? I just saw his reference to Sulphuric Acid as I scanned his comments and took it from there.

Perhaps I should have been more careful, especially as the bugger tried to pull the very same DHMO trick only a few months ago!

In the meantime this 'wicked stuff' is freely available to virtually anyone who cares to part with £5.00 for a litre.
Actually Keith I was referring to a certain proprietary Drain Cleaning Fluid. I have a bottle of the said stuff from the said shop in front of me right now. Yes, I acknowledge that it does contain harmless DiHydrogen Oxide at 9% of the volume. However the other 91% consists of Sulphuric Acid - and very potent stuff it is too! My comments were sincerely meant to be serious (for once!) I admit however to not having read my learned friend /@|_|@\'s erudite submission word for word for word - does anyone? I just saw his reference to Sulphuric Acid as I scanned his comments and took it from there. Perhaps I should have been more careful, especially as the bugger tried to pull the very same DHMO trick only a few months ago! In the meantime this 'wicked stuff' is freely available to virtually anyone who cares to part with £5.00 for a litre. OMPITA [Intl]
  • Score: -5

6:57pm Sat 9 Aug 14

InspectorMontalbano says...

OMPITA wrote:
Actually Keith I was referring to a certain proprietary Drain Cleaning Fluid. I have a bottle of the said stuff from the said shop in front of me right now.

Yes, I acknowledge that it does contain harmless DiHydrogen Oxide at 9% of the volume. However the other 91% consists of Sulphuric Acid - and very potent stuff it is too!

My comments were sincerely meant to be serious (for once!)

I admit however to not having read my learned friend /@|_|@\'s erudite submission word for word for word - does anyone? I just saw his reference to Sulphuric Acid as I scanned his comments and took it from there.

Perhaps I should have been more careful, especially as the bugger tried to pull the very same DHMO trick only a few months ago!

In the meantime this 'wicked stuff' is freely available to virtually anyone who cares to part with £5.00 for a litre.
Any chance you boys can get out for the night on a covert mission OOmpi ?
I am sure they are training you up for (MK Ultra 2014).
I mean really you're working alongside some Hot Bridget Fonda lookalike surely ?
We need some efficient Mechanics here quick and fast?
[quote][p][bold]OMPITA [Intl][/bold] wrote: Actually Keith I was referring to a certain proprietary Drain Cleaning Fluid. I have a bottle of the said stuff from the said shop in front of me right now. Yes, I acknowledge that it does contain harmless DiHydrogen Oxide at 9% of the volume. However the other 91% consists of Sulphuric Acid - and very potent stuff it is too! My comments were sincerely meant to be serious (for once!) I admit however to not having read my learned friend /@|_|@\'s erudite submission word for word for word - does anyone? I just saw his reference to Sulphuric Acid as I scanned his comments and took it from there. Perhaps I should have been more careful, especially as the bugger tried to pull the very same DHMO trick only a few months ago! In the meantime this 'wicked stuff' is freely available to virtually anyone who cares to part with £5.00 for a litre.[/p][/quote]Any chance you boys can get out for the night on a covert mission OOmpi ? I am sure they are training you up for (MK Ultra 2014). I mean really you're working alongside some Hot Bridget Fonda lookalike surely ? We need some efficient Mechanics here quick and fast? InspectorMontalbano
  • Score: 0

8:20am Sun 10 Aug 14

OMPITA [Intl] says...

Get out for a night? Not much chance of that in the foreseeable future Monty old boy!

We were due to have what they called a ‘low key perambulation’ around the town last Mafeking Night. They said we were to behave proper like and walk quietly in single file and do exactly as we were told. They even had a load of freshly pressed grey flannel trousers and some smart maroon blazers (job lot of unsold stock from Foster’s when BCHS folded I suspect) all lined up for the occasion.

I was only joking (me and my bxxxxy sense of humour!) when I said to Charlie what a wheeze it would be if we all broke into a Conga going past the Town Hall. Well he laughed like a drain then went (in the greatest of confidence) and told the Nit Nurse.

That was fatal!

She gets de-briefed by the Beadle every time she leaves and unfortunately she just cannot keep a secret – indeed she is a very leaky lady to say the least.

So that was it. Out came the string and brown paper and away went the smart little walking out suits never to be seen since. Almost three months have passed now and not a single word has there been about any further planned excursions.

So there it is mate. Re your query about the chance of getting out for a night? Forget it – ‘No way Jose’!
Get out for a night? Not much chance of that in the foreseeable future Monty old boy! We were due to have what they called a ‘low key perambulation’ around the town last Mafeking Night. They said we were to behave proper like and walk quietly in single file and do exactly as we were told. They even had a load of freshly pressed grey flannel trousers and some smart maroon blazers (job lot of unsold stock from Foster’s when BCHS folded I suspect) all lined up for the occasion. I was only joking (me and my bxxxxy sense of humour!) when I said to Charlie what a wheeze it would be if we all broke into a Conga going past the Town Hall. Well he laughed like a drain then went (in the greatest of confidence) and told the Nit Nurse. That was fatal! She gets de-briefed by the Beadle every time she leaves and unfortunately she just cannot keep a secret – indeed she is a very leaky lady to say the least. So that was it. Out came the string and brown paper and away went the smart little walking out suits never to be seen since. Almost three months have passed now and not a single word has there been about any further planned excursions. So there it is mate. Re your query about the chance of getting out for a night? Forget it – ‘No way Jose’! OMPITA [Intl]
  • Score: 0

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