Carjackers jailed after former boxer Michael Watson left traumatised by attack

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Former boxer Michael Watson was left suffering flashbacks and seizures after a violent carjacking for which the attackers have been jailed.

The 53-year-old, who was partially disabled after suffering a near-fatal brain injury during a fight with Chris Eubank in 1991, was dragged at least 150 metres along the road as a gang of robbers tried to steal the car he was in last year.

The former sportsman, who kept his eyes trained on the culprits in the dock at Snaresbrook Crown Court for much of the sentencing, told how he has been left feeling anxious and nervous since the attack.

Michael Watson and Chris Eubank fighting
Michael Watson, left, had two famous fights against Chris Eubank, the second of which ended with his brain injury (Tony Harris/PA)

Mr Watson’s friend and carer Lennard Ballack, who had been driving the car, was attacked by Paul Samuels who sprayed a clear liquid in his face.

Mr Ballack, whose “screams of pain” were heard by witnesses, was then punched and kicked as the attack continued, now involving Simon Luck, a second attacker.

Mr Watson was dragged along the road as Samuels drove the car off at high speed in The Ridgeway, having been unable to escape after becoming caught in his seatbelt.

The attackers eventually abandoned the carjacking.

Sentencing them, His Honour Judge Oscar del Fabbro said they had unwittingly attacked a “sporting legend”.

He said: “He rose to considerable fame as a world champion contender and he was made of sterner stuff both physically and mentally, unlike any of you sitting there in the dock.”

The pair and a third man, Anselm Legemah, were also found guilty last week over an attack two weeks earlier in Loughton during which they sprayed ammonia at the driver of a car, causing him permanent eye damage, and injured the female passenger who had been celebrating her 16th birthday.

In a short victim impact statement, read to the court by prosecutor Robert Evans, Mr Watson said: “Since this ordeal I have suffered nothing but flashbacks. I have suffered from five or six physical seizures due to the stress.”

Adding that he now feels anxious, he said: “I feel sickened, mentally stressed by what these people have done to me.”

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.

Luck, 29, and Samuels, 31, both of Bluebell Avenue, were each sentenced to 16 years in prison in relation to the carjackings.

Luck was further sentenced to four years after being found guilty of two counts of possession of class A drugs with intent to supply, namely heroin and crack cocaine.

Samuels was handed two further years after admitting the same offences.

Legemah, 23, of Elkington Road, was jailed for a total of 16 years.

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