Fears Clapham chemical attack suspect will never be found if he jumped into the Thames

16 February 2024, 16:52 | Updated: 16 February 2024, 19:15

Clapham attack suspect Abdul Ezedi may never be found if he entered the water
Clapham attack suspect Abdul Ezedi may never be found if he entered the water. Picture: Alamy/Metropolitan Police

By Will Taylor

The Clapham chemical attack suspect may never be found if he went into the Thames, it is feared.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Abdul Ezedi is thought to have gone into the river at Chelsea Bridge, with police using CCTV to build up a detailed picture of his movements after the attack in south London.

He is accused of throwing a corrosive substance at a mother, who is his former partner, and her two young daughters on January 31 before fleeing to the Tube and roaming the capital.

He drops off cameras at the crossing.

Detectives believe Ezedi, who had received a distinctive facial injury that he would need to get help with, would have an "extremely remote" chance of survival if he jumped in.

Read more: Two bodies discovered in River Thames 'not linked' to Abdul Ezedi as police continue hunt for Clapham attack suspect

Diving expert Nicolai Lonne told the Mirror that "murky water" and cold temperatures would make searching the Thames difficult for teams.

And Eric Matechak, who has been boating and fishing on the river for 25 years, said strong tidal movements at Chelsea Bridge would also make it harder to track down a body.

Clapham chemical attack suspect may have jumped in River Thames, police say

"Tidal movements of the Thames can drastically change the water level at any given point," he said.

"Since the Thames is a tidal river, especially around Chelsea Bridge, the water level at 11:30 pm on January 31 would depend on the tidal phase.

"Tides could either cause the river to rise, making it wider and affecting the drift, or fall, potentially exposing parts of the riverbed."

Read more: Specialist police unit begins search of River Thames in hunt for Clapham attack suspect Abdul Ezedi

He added: "River bends and river bed composition would indeed affect where a body might end up.

"The Thames is full of snags, which means that the river's physical features, including bends and the composition of the river bed, could trap or redirect objects.

Ezedi has not been seen since the night of the attack
Ezedi has not been seen since the night of the attack. Picture: Police

"Bends could slow down or accelerate the drift, while the riverbed's makeup could catch or allow objects to move freely."

Mr Lonne said: "In Abdul Ezedi's case, the odds are stacked against the search teams for sure. But I know those divers, having trained a bunch myself - they're tenacious and won't quit until they try everything to locate him."

He went on: "With its swirling currents, freezing temps and poor visibility, it presents a new puzzle each time. But with the right skills and gear, there's always hope."

Ezedi, 35, who came from Afghanistan and arrived in the UK from the back of a lorry, was allowed to stay in the UK despite a sexual assault and exposure conviction.

The victim, 31, has not been named. She has been sedated in hospital amid fears she could lose sight in an eye.

Brave witnesses got involved to try and get Ezedi away from her and her children.

He was seen on CCTV on the Tube and in a north London Tesco after the attack, his facial wound clearly visible.

But the main theory is that he jumped in, having been seen pacing on Chelsea Bridge and looking over the railings.

"At that time of night, at this time of year, and entering the water from the middle of a bridge at height, the chances of Ezedi surviving are extremely remote," Met Police Commander Jon Savell said.

"Our Marine Policing Unit will be carrying out boat searches at low tide in the area over the coming days. We have not recovered a body at this stage."

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Angry crowds gather outside Christ the Good Shepherd Church in Sydney following a stabbing

'Riot' breaks out after second Sydney stabbing with church goers holding attacker 'captive'

Breaking
Rishi Sunak condemned Iran's actions

Rishi Sunak says Iran sought to 'plunge the Middle East into new crisis' with Israel attack as he urges 'restraint'

Supreme Court Thomas

Justice Thomas misses Supreme Court session with no explanation

Una Crown pictured with her husband Jack

Pensioner arrested on suspicion of murdering 86-year-old Una Crown, who was found dead at home 11 years ago

Donald Trump

Trump arrives at court for start of jury selection in historic hush money trial

London's public transport network is vast and comprehensive, but not without its faults...

London's most ‘bizarre and infuriating’ transport quirks including a five-metre cycle lane and ‘labyrinth’ Tube station

Derek Underwood has died aged 78

England and Kent cricket legend Derek Underwood dies aged 78, as county lauds 'one of its greatest ever players'

The former president was seen departing Trump Tower in the direction of the Manhattan Courthouse on Monday morning, where the historic criminal trial is set to commence.

'This is an assault on America': Defiant Donald Trump punches the air as criminal trial begins

Sydney church

Man arrested after reported stabbing at church in Sydney

Police confirmed a man has been arrested

Moment grinning attacker is detained by congregation after Sydney church stabbing that left four injured

Emmanuel Macron has admitted the Olympic opening ceremony may have to be moved from the Seine

Macron says France may move Paris Olympic opening ceremony from 'world first' River Seine location over ISIS threat

Hannah Waddingham has called out a photographer that asked her to "show some leg" at the Olivier Awards in London

Hannah Waddingham confronts photographer who asked her to ‘show some leg’ at Oliviers

Collapsed bridge

FBI ‘opens criminal investigation into Baltimore bridge collapse’

An empty section of the M25 between Junctions 10 and 11, in Surrey when it was closed in March for construction

Drivers warned as seven-mile stretch of M25 to close for an entire weekend

Exclusive
Liz Truss 'bugged' Boris Johnson while had Covid

Liz Truss admits she kept 'bugging' Boris Johnson in hospital when he was recovering from Covid

Joel Cauchi killed six people in a stabbing attack in Sydney

Parents of Sydney stabber apologise and say 'monster' son 'may have killed women because he wanted a girlfriend'