The victim of an "acid attack" in Surbiton has been left blind and thought he was going to die after a man sprayed a corrosive substance into his car.

Spencer Gymer explained that he was driving through Surbiton when he was approached by a motorcyclist who proceeded to “scream at him” on the driver’s side of his car.

He was waiting at the traffic lights at the junction of Brighton Road and Portsmouth Road on January 19 at around 4.05pm.

Spencer said that the man was coaxing him to open the window and saying things like “he was being rude for not opening it further".

Despite Spencer's attempts to de-escalate the situation by explaining he was on the phone hands-free, the attacker still demanded he open the window.

Spencer told Your Local Guardian: “So, I opened my window by about an inch, and I said 'look, buddy I don't know what your problem is, but I have not got a problem with you. I'm not talking to you. I'm on my phone' and he said 'I can't hear you. I've got earphones in. Open your window'.

“When I opened my window, he instantly produced a water bottle with a sports lid - like a nozzle.

“He then proceeded to squeeze the whole bottle directly into my face and my upper body.

“I was instantly paralyzed and blinded. I inhaled and ingested the solution. All the insides of my mouth blistered.

“I honestly thought I was going to die. I couldn't breathe. As far as I was concerned, my life was over.”

He has since emphasised the need for public awareness about the growing dangers of these kinds of attacks on the streets and urged people not to open their car windows under any circumstances and shared his fear that such attacks may be linked to gang initiations.

Spencer said: “My message to you all is never open your car window if someone pulls up next to you screaming at your car. I don’t want this to ever happen to anyone else.”

The fire brigade arrived within minutes to administer emergency aid, dousing him with water and applying new chemicals designed for acid attacks.

Spencer was quickly transported to Kingston, where he underwent ten hours of continuous water irrigation to flush out the corrosive substance – which Spencer believes to be neat ammonia. 

We are awaiting on confirmation from police on the specific substance that was used.

He later underwent surgery at St George's Eye Trauma Unit.

The attack left Spencer grappling with the possibility of permanent blindness and has since had an operation where his eyelids have had to be stitched up following the treatment.

He praised the people that came to his aid during the incident and would like to thank them for their kindness and quick thinking.

He added: “The lady that got out of the car behind me and was talking me through the 999 process.

“She was absolutely outstanding. I can't thank that lady enough.

“There was also a man that works in Laithwaites who was running backwards and forwards with huge jars of water – he has potentially saved some of my right eyesight.

“My left eye is blind, but I am waiting to hear about what the situation is with my right eye.”

No arrests have been made at this stage and police are appealing for further information, witnesses or anyone with dashcam footage.

Spencer expressed deep concern for the potential long-term impact on his life, especially regarding his son, who is aged three and a half.

He explained: “I’m worried won't be able to visually see the love of my life, Phoenix, growing up and turning into a wonderful young man.

“I can't drive, and I may never drive again.

“Yeah, it's a game-changer.”

Your Local Guardian: Spencer and his little boySpencer and his little boy (Image: Spencer G)

The attack occurred during the school run and a car seat was visible in the back of the car, but luckily his son was not travelling with him.

He said: “When police got to the scene and they saw that car seat in the back of my car, that's when they realized just how serious this was because it was four in the afternoon and there were parents with kids in their cars in the school run traffic jam.”

Despite the traumatic experience relating to the attack, Spencer has maintained a resilient mindset, focusing on acceptance and forgiveness.

Spencer is a recovered addict and uses his experiences to support others and share his journey – but he has also applied this to his recovery in relation to the attack.

He said: “In recovery, we talk about acceptance and the necessity of accepting things. The number one offender for a relapse is resentment.

“We are trying to encourage youngsters to admit 'I've got a problem with drugs. I've got a problem with addiction' and it's okay to say that. We're working to lift the stigma of addiction.

“It's okay to be in recovery. We work one day at a time, only worrying about today. It's about acceptance, acknowledging that I may face challenges and I’m applying this to my situation too. “

A spokesperson for Kingston Police said: “#APPEAL for witnesses “Police were called at around 16:10hrs on Friday, 19 January, to reports of a man sprayed with a liquid substance at the junction of Brighton Road and Portsmouth Road in Surbiton.

“Officers attended along with LAS and LFB. The man was taken to hospital and has been discharged.

“There has been no arrest at this stage.

“We are pleased that the man has been discharged from hospital following treatment and detectives from the Met’s South West CID are investigating.”

“Their investigation will utilise all available tactics, including analysis of CCTV and of the liquid, which initial tests indicate is a less harmful substance than ammonia.

“Any witnesses or anyone with information or dashcam footage is asked to call 101, ref CAD 4727/20jan, or to remain anonymous contact Crimestoppers.”