A victim of a ‘horrific’ attack outside an Eastbourne bar has opened up about his experience and injuries.
Police said on February 11 outside Blue Bar Cafe in Pevensey Road a man is reported to have thrown an unknown liquid – believed to be a noxious substance – into the face of 26-year-old manager Tommy Powell.
A Sussex Police spokesperson added, “The victim was taken to hospital for treatment for significant eye injuries and has since been discharged to continue his recovery at home.
“Two other men were also hit with the substance and received immediate medical treatment.
“They also reported experiencing pain and discomfort to their eyes.”
Police said detectives are continuing enquiries to gather evidence and to locate and arrest a suspect.
Mr Powell has opened up about what happened that night.
He said, “It was the worst pain I have ever experienced.
“I cannot actually describe it.”
Mr Powell said the attack also damaged his eye-sight.
He added, “I have got very slight vision in my right eye and moderately bad vision in the other.”
The bar manager has also suffered mentally since the attack.
Mr Powell said, “I ended up with severe anxiety, PTSD and depression.
“I cannot work at the moment so I haven’t got any finances coming in. That has been for three months.
“Even going out is a struggle.”
Despite being the victim of a ‘horrific and unprovoked’ attack, Mr Powell said he was fortunate to be in a place where people could help him.
Friend and colleague Julia Wakelin has also spoke about her experience that night.
She said, “I was stood nearby and could immediately smell chemicals so strong my eyes, nose and throat burnt up, and in that moment I knew something was seriously wrong.
“Tommy manages to scramble inside, screaming in pain, and we rush to douse him in water in a desperate attempt to save his vision.
“Almost immediately the skin around his eyes had blistered and his eyes were raw and clouded over.
“There are no words to describe the horror and sheer panic of that evening.”
Mrs Wakelin has described Mr Powell as a ‘kind-hearted, compassionate soul who is loved by everyone’.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Mr Powell financially as he is currently unable to work due to his injuries.
Detective sergeant David Hawes, of Eastbourne investigations, urged anyone with information to report it, adding, “Firstly, I’d like to thank everyone who has come forward with information.
“This was a horrific and unprovoked attack which left three men in need of first aid treatment.
“While our enquiries are ongoing to identify the substance used, it is clear from the effects it has caused that it is some form of noxious substance.
“No arrests have been made and we are not seeking anyone else in connection with the incident at this time.”
Anyone with information is urged to report it online or by calling 101, quoting serial 1393 of 11/02.
Residents can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online.