The victim of an “alkaline attack" who was left blind after a corrosive substance was sprayed into his car in Surbiton has faced issues and trauma since the horrific incident.

Spencer Gymer has criticised the lack of working CCTV across Kingston, despite a focus on funding ULEZ cameras and calls for more regulation on corrosive substances.

As he comes to terms with his life-changing injuries, he is let down by the lack of support for mental health after such a traumatic event and says that Kingston A&E struggled to care for him.

On January 19, Spencer 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 at around 4.05pm when the stranger began coercing him to open the car window.

Despite Spencer’s attempts to de-escalate the situation by explaining he was on a hands-free phone call, he claims the attacker persisted before he produced a water bottle with a sports lid and squeezed the liquid onto his face and body.

Spencer told Your Local Guardian: "The CCTV cameras on that junction, pointing at where I had my sight taken from me, weren't working.

"A man can attack me in full view of a CCTV camera and get away with it, but I can't drive a car that's not ULEZ compliant into the new boundary.

“You know, they're trying to save the planet and stop us driving around in old cars. What about trying to save the people that live on the planet?

"If they invested some of the profits from new ULEZ cameras and revamped the old CCTV cameras that are meant to be keeping us safe, maybe crime numbers would go down.

"The government has made all this money, and yet they can't even have working CCTV cameras on the main junction on a busy road in Surbiton."

A spokesperson for Kingston Council said: "Safety across our borough is a core priority for the council and we are distressed to hear about Mr Gymer's experience.

"The council always works with the police to provide information such as CCTV images where we can. 

"We are aware that this camera is not operating at the moment and we are currently upgrading the supporting network for this area to fibre for better resilience. "

Spencer also stressed the need for public awareness regarding the dangers of acid and corrosive substance attacks on the streets in a hope that “this never happens to anyone else”.

He urged the public never to open car windows when approached by strangers and shared concerns that such attacks may be linked to gang initiations.

Spencer raised concerns about the accessibility of chemicals that could be used in similar attacks, saying "you can go into B&Q and buy drain blockers that are acid”.

He added that when he arrived at Kingston A&E he was he was left “blind, shaking, and traumatized” as the medical staff struggled to address his urgent needs.

He explained: “I had two nurses standing over me, squeezing drip bags into my eyes while my head was hanging off the back of a trolley over a mop bucket.

"They didn't know what to do with me. They didn't know where to send me. They had no specialized equipment.

"They wheeled me into a room and presented two junior nurses and made a makeshift jet washer.”

He said that shortage of staff further complicated the situation, with one nurse being pulled away at what Spencer described as “a crucial stage of an alkaline attack”.

He added: "Due to understaffing, they removed one of the nurses, reducing the efficiency of the treatment.

“Now, instead of having both eyes treated simultaneously, the process was slowed down as the doctor had to do one at a time.”

Spencer’s girlfriend then stepped in and assisted with the treatment, assuming a role that should have been handled by a senior nurse and started to continue squirting the liquid into his eyes to flush them.

He was then sent home from A&E and had to wait the next morning to go to St George's for specialist treatment.

The trauma of the incident has left him struggling with panic attacks and sleepless nights, but Spencer explained that the only mental health support he has been provided is a phone number which he specifically requested from the hospital.

A spokesperson for Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said: “Our staff strive to provide the best possible care in our emergency department, and so we are sorry to hear about this experience.

“Following our initial assessment and treatment, an immediate referral was made to a specialist unit, as is routine for such an injury.

“We would be very happy to review this patient’s case with them, to provide reassurance regarding the care provided.”

Spencer said: "Right now, as I speak to you, my left eye is completely stapled closed, and I can't help but feel traumatized two weeks down the line just by the fact that my left eye is stapled closed.

"They've pitched into my eyeball, harvested placenta and stem cells, and what they're trying to do is encourage the eye not to die."

Whilst he praises the efforts of emergency services, he still stresses the urgent need for systemic improvements.

Spencer added: "In the world we live in today, it feels like these attacks are going to become more and more common. What I'm trying to do now is to try and help victims of these types of attacks in the future."

No arrests have been made since the attack and the police investigation continues.

A similar but unrelated alkaline attack occurred a few days after Spencer’s attack in Clapham at around 7.25pm on January 31.

The attack left 31-year-old mother and her two young girls, aged three and eight, in hospital.

It is believed the mum may lose her sight and she currently remains in hospital in a critical but stable condition.