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Former boxer describes hell of acid attack carjacking which almost killed him

Former boxer Michael Watson has described how he was sprayed with acid, punched and kicked to the ground then dragged 500 yards along the road in an attempted carjacking.

The 53-year-old, who suffered a brain injury during a fight with Chris Eubank in 1991, had to rebuild his life yet again after thieves tried to take his car.

After three men were found guilty of the attack this week, Mr Watson confessed it was a ‘miracle’ that he was still alive.

Speaking after the sentencing, Mr Watson said recovering from the carjacking had been tougher than all his world title fights ‘put together’.

File photo dated 29/8/2012 of Michael Watson carrying the Paralympic flame. The former boxer has told how rebuilding his life after a violent carjacking has been tougher than all his world title fights "put together". PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday September 16, 2018. See PA story COURTS Watson. Photo credit should read: Chris Radburn/LOCOG/PA Wire

Michael Watson carrying the Paralympic flame (Picture: PA)

In an interview with the Sunday People, he said: ‘It’s more of a miracle I survived this carjacking than the fact I survived the Chris Eubank fight.

‘I’ve been critically ill and had six operations on my head and been through so much trauma… But coming back from this attack has been my hardest fight – tougher than all of my world title fights put together.’

The former world title challenger was a passenger in a Volkswagen Golf when it was shunted from behind and then commandeered by the assailants in Chingford, east London, in February 2017.

He was sprayed with acid then punched and kicked to the ground, before being dragged 500 yards along the road after becoming trapped by the seat belt and the car door as the suspects tried to make a getaway. They eventually abandoned the carjacking.

Mr Watson’s friend and carer Lennard Ballack was also sprayed in the face with the substance, and told the Sunday People he felt like he was ‘failing’ in his job by being unable to protect Mr Watson from the attack.

Mr Watson, who described going into ‘survival mode’ during the incident, said he had suffered from flashbacks and depression since the carjacking, and that it had set him back in his recovery from the Eubank fight.

He could not forgive those responsible, he added, and wanted to see them sent to prison when they are sentenced.

Career robbers Simon Luck, 29, Paul Samuels, 31, and Anselm Legemah, 23, were found guilty of conspiracy to rob and spraying corrosive fluid ammonia on Thursday following a trial at Snaresbrook Crown Court.

The Metropolitan Police said a similar attack was carried out on two teenagers in a white Audi, days before Mr Watson and Mr Ballack were injured.

Luck was said to have been the driver, while Samuels and Legemah were also present.

Two of the men got out of the car and made their way over to the Audi.

One of the men, believed to be Samuels, then sprayed the driver in the face with noxious liquid. He suffered permanent damage to his eyes, the Met said.

Scotland Yard said Luck and Samuels were found guilty of two counts of conspiracy to commit robbery and applying a corrosive fluid with intent to burn, maim, disfigure or disable, or to inflict grievous bodily harm.

Legemah was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit robbery and applying a corrosive fluid with intent to burn, maim, disfigure or disable, or to inflict grievous bodily harm.

The men will be sentenced on Friday.

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