“I could have been blinded.”
Those are the words of university lecturer Steven Moulster, who was repeatedly attacked with the corrosive liquid ammonia as he courageously defended his home from a gang of burglars.
One of them almost succeeded in hurling the ammonia into his eyes but he managed to spin round just in time – preventing any damage to his sight.
However, the 50-year-old father of one was punched in the back and struck on the head with a heavy object, possibly a brick, as he struggled with the intruders, who also threatened to stab him.
They eventually fled empty-handed but not before telling him they would return and burn his house down as they ran down the street.
All three burglars were armed with a bottle of ammonia when they targeted Mr Moulster’s split-level bungalow in Hillview Road, Hythe – but the gang got more than they bargained for.
Despite being alone in his property the media technology lecturer at Southampton Solent University decided to make a stand.
He said: “I was working in the garage at about 10pm when I heard footsteps in the bedroom above. I went to have a look and saw someone going through the pockets of a pair of trousers that were on the bed.
“I slammed the kitchen door behind me as a way of confronting him.
“A second man jumped out of the lounge and started pulling on a balaclava as he came down the hall. He threw a load of liquid over me but I managed to turn away and it went down my left arm.
“Had it hit me in the eyes I could have been blinded, albeit temporarily.
“The burglar also threatened to stab me but I never saw a knife and don’t believe he had one.”
Despite being attacked Mr Moulster chased the intruders into his back garden, where they made a second attempt to squirt him with ammonia.
However, he again gave chase and pursued them into the front garden, only to be confronted by the third member of the gang.
He also attacked him with ammonia but the liquid landed on his feet.
Mr Moulster, who escaped with a small abrasion and a slight burning sensation on his skin, added: “Right from the start I thought: ‘I’m not having this in my house’. I’m determined not to be a victim.”
His wife Gwen added: “I’m proud of what Steve did.”
As reported in yesterday’s Daily Echo the police have issued e-fit images of two of the men in a bid to track down the gang. The incident happened on June 18. Anyone with information should call Police Staff Investigator Gerald Larcombe at Lyndhurst police station on 101 or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.