London

Beckton birthday acid attack treated as 'hate crime'

John Tomlin Image copyright Metropolitan Police
Image caption Police said they would like to speak to John Tomlin in connection with the attack

A birthday acid attack on a university student and her cousin is now being treated as a hate crime by police.

Resham Khan and Jameel Muhktar had a corrosive substance thrown through their car window in Beckton, east London, on 21 June.

Police said "new information" had come to light about the "horrendous act of violence" which meant they were now treating it as a hate crime.

A man is being hunted for by police over the attack.

The Met have urged John Tomlin, 24, to hand himself in for questioning and warned members of the public not to approach him.

Acting Det Supt Neil Matthews said the investigation "continues to move at great pace and my team continues to act on a number of leads to find Tomlin".

Image copyright Resham Khan
Image caption Resham Khan has been left with damage to her left eye
Image copyright Resham Khan
Image caption She had just returned from a year abroad as part of her business management degree at Manchester Metropolitan University

Ms Khan had been celebrating her 21st birthday with Mr Muhktar in east London.

They had stopped in their car at traffic lights when a man approached and threw the toxic substance at them.

"Within seconds, my cousin started screaming. Her eyes were blistered, her face started melting. My face started melting", Mr Muhktar, said.

The 37 year old had to be placed in an induced coma to treat his injuries.

Image caption Jameel Muhktar has said he will be "scarred for life"

Writing on Facebook on Friday, Ms Khan said she did not want the attack to "fuel a division among people".

"Letting this man or the events of the past fill you up with hate will only darken the soul," she wrote.

A crowdfunding campaign set up to help support the pair's aftercare has raised over £46,000.

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