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Chemical attacks happening 'almost weekly', Newcastle doctors warn amid manhunt for Clapham attack suspect
2 February 2024, 19:30
Chemical attacks are happening 'almost weekly' in Newcastle, sources at the city's biggest hospital have told LBC after warning of an increase in patients being treated for burns to the face.
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The main suspect in a corrosive substance attack in south London, Abdul Ezedi, 35, is believed to have travelled from Newcastle to Clapham on Wednesday, where a woman and her two young children were seriously injured.
Officers believe the substance to have been alkaline, with the 31-year-old mother suffering life-changing injuries. Her eight and three-year-old daughters remain in hospital with her.
Concerned doctors at Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary have now told LBC they are treating “multiple patients a month, if not per week”, who have suffered injuries to their eyes from what is believed to be caustic alkali.
One source said: “Down in London alkaline attacks aren’t common, but in Newcastle alkaline attacks to the face like that are getting really, really common.
“We’re getting multiple, multiple of them a month, if not per week.
“There were two on the ward just before Christmas on the same day. They were separate. One had a machete wound to the neck too.
“The consultants here who specialise in the retina, so look after things with these attacks, have been saying how common its getting.
“Consultants say it’s happening almost weekly. It’s definitely multiple a month now.”
A recently published report for the US National Centre for Biotechnology Information focused on severe chemical eye injuries treated at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary over two and a half years - between April 2013 and September 2015.
It found 37 patients required emergency admission for chemical eye injuries with the main causative agent being alkali.
A source close to the hospital’s eye unit told LBC the number of patients treated for such injuries in 2023 alone was higher, and doctors were seeing a concerning rise.
It’s believed Clapham attack suspect Abdul Ezedi drove from Newcastle to south London in the early hours of Wednesday morning, and was known to the victims.
The 35-year-old is believed to have suffered significant injuries to his own face and has been captured on CCTV with a large burn covering his right eye.
Northumbria Police and the Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust have been contacted for comment.