Spate of London Acid Attacks Prompts U.K. To Consider Life Sentences

Image: The scene of an acid attack in London
Emergency response following acid attack on the junction of Hackney Road junction with Queensbridge Road, London, Britain Thursday in seen in this picture obtained from social media.SOCIAL MEDIA / Reuters

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By Associated Press

LONDON — A spate of acid attacks across London has left British authorities considering whether tougher sentences would curb the spike in assaults using corrosive liquids.

British police said late Saturday they had charged a teenage boy after five moped riders were sprayed with a corrosive substance during a 90-minute period last week.

London's Metropolitan Police said the 16-year-old, who cannot be named because of his age, faces 15 charges, including grievous bodily harm.

One man was left with life-changing injuries, police said. At least two of those attacked were drivers for food delivery services Deliveroo and UberEATS.

A 15-year-old boy who was also arrested has been released on bail.

Police said the number of reported attacks with corrosive liquids in London rose from 261 in 2015 to 454 in 2016. Some appear related to gang activity or the theft of cars and motorbikes.

Amid mounting public concern, the British government said it is considering increasing sentences for acid attacks to a maximum of life.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd wrote in the Sunday Times newspaper that those who use noxious liquids as a weapon should "feel the full force of the law" and "must share their victims' life sentences."

Saphora Smith contributed.