Josh Hunt had just finished work when he decided to buy snacks and visit Westleigh Park in Leigh on December 21
Image: MEN MEDIA)
A mum whose vulnerable son had bleach sprayed in his face by a gang of thugs says he could have been blinded in the attack.
Josh Hunt had just finished work when he decided to buy snacks and visit Westleigh Park in Leigh on December 21.
The 19-year-old, who has autism and Tourette’s syndrome, had not long sat down when four men approached him at around 7pm.
They asked Josh for his name before telling him: “This is a robbery”.
After a few moments, the group decided to walk away empty handed, the MEN reports.
But they were back minutes later demanding his phone and wallet.
Suddenly, Josh was dragged to the ground. The gang began punching and kicking him as he lay on the floor.
As he jumped up in a bid to save his £539 electric scooter – which he had purchased the the week previous – Josh had a substance sprayed in his eyes.
The chemical was later discovered to be bleach – leaving him unable to see.
The group fled with his scooter just as Josh’s friend arrived to meet him.
Josh’s parents were informed who immediately rushed to the park.
On arrival, they found their son screaming in pain.
“His eyes were very inflamed and swollen; he couldn’t see at all,” his mother Kelly Hunt said .
“My husband ran to the nearest shop and asked for bottles of water which he kept washing his eyes with.
“He then put him in the car and as he was driving home from the park, which is five minutes from our house, my son was screaming saying, ‘Ouch, dad, my eyes are burning so much, I can’t see’”.
On arrival at home, the family called the police.
Officers arranged for a fast-response paramedic to visit them.
After assessing Josh’s condition, his parents were advised to take him straight to hospital.
The teen was escorted by detectives to Royal Albert Edward Infirmary in Wigan.
The Mirror’s newsletter brings you the latest news, exciting showbiz and TV stories, sport updates and essential political information.
The newsletter is emailed out first thing every morning, at 12noon and every evening.
Never miss a moment by signing up to our newsletter here.
Josh had his eyes washed numerous times before being discharged with a prescription ointment.
His clothing was taken by Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue service to assess the chemical thrown at him.
It was found to be bleach.
“One of the lads said to my son, ‘I’ve got ammo and I’ll spray you up’,” Kelly, 39, continued.
“I’m mortified by it; I feel sick to know how hard he worked to buy himself the scooter.
“I’m in pins whenever he goes anywhere now as well as my other sons.
“I still feel shaken by it all, all I could do was pray his eyesight wasn’t going to be lost.”
There have not yet been any arrests and the investigation is still ongoing, a spokesman for GMP confirmed.
Detective Inspector Patrick Wood, of GMP Wigan CID, said: “This was an awful attack on a vulnerable man with Asperger’s.
“The attack has left him incredibly shaken and I would strongly appeal for anyone with information about this incident – including who the offenders may be or the location of the Xiaomai Electric Scooter – to please contact police as soon as possible.
“This kind of attack is both cowardly and unacceptable and we will be working at pace to find the individuals responsible.”
Anyone with information – including CCTV or dashcam footage from around the park at the time of the incident – can report it online or by using the LiveChat service at www.gmp.police.uk quoting log 2503 of 21/12/2021; or via Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.