Updated: Witham road cordoned off after man suffers potentially life-changing injuries consistent with a ‘harmful liquid’
A man, who police believe was not the intended victim, has suffered life-changing injuries after a harmful liquid was thrown in his face by two men.
The 56-year-old victim was collecting post from the communal entrance to his block of flats in Witham when he was confronted by the two men banging on the front door.
After a brief exchange the two suspects threw the liquid from a glass bottle over the victim before running off.
Police believe it was a case of mistaken identity with the man being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Ambulance workers called police to the incident on a path off Bramble Road, at 10.45am yesterday while they were treating the man for chemical burns to his hands and face.
The Essex Air Ambulance landed at the scene but the man was subsequently taken to Broomfield Hospital by land ambulance for treatment.
A Hazardous Area Response Team from the East of England Ambulance Service Trust, based at Great Notley, was also sent to the scene.
The area was cordoned off as six fire crews from Colchester, Chelmsford, Maldon and Witham joined the other emergency services to make the area safe following the chemical incident.
A spokesman for Essex Police said: “Officers attended to find that the man had suffered injuries consistent with the use of a harmful liquid.
“The man’s injuries are not believed to be life threatening but are potentially life-changing.
“Police are conducting investigations at the scene to establish the circumstances surrounding this incident. An area of the road was cordoned off while police carried out forensic examinations and to ensure the safety of members of the public.”
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.”
No-one has been arrested in connection with the incident.
Bill Rose, deputy mayor of Witham and town councillor for the area, said: “Normally Witham is pretty good, we don’t suffer from any more crime than other towns our size and we may even be better.
“The police are very good and we feel safe in our homes and on our streets. When I talk to residents fear of crime is not something that comes to mind.
“Something like this is unusual.”
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact Essex Police officers at Braintree CID on 101, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.