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Hunt for fugitive convicted sex attacker enters third day after mother and two daughters maimed in chemical attack
2 February 2024, 05:57 | Updated: 2 February 2024, 09:13
The hunt for a man who maimed a mother and her two daughters in a chemical attack on the streets of London entered a third day as fury grows over how he was allowed to stay in the UK.
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‘Dangerous’ Abdul Shokoor Ezedi, 35, a convicted sex attacker, is being sought by police after allegedly leaving three victims with ‘life changing injuries’.
An image of Ezedi was released last night showing him in a branch of Tesco on Caledonian Road store with significant injuries to the right side of his face.
It emerged last night that Ezedi is a former asylum seeker from Afghanistan who was allowed to remain in the UK despite being convicted of a sexual offence.
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He made two unsuccessful asylum attempts before having it granted on the third attempt when he claimed to have converted to Christianity.
Last night Tory MPs began calls for all asylum seekers who commit crimes in Great Britain to be deported.
Miriam Cates, MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge and the co-chair of the New Conservative group of MPs, told The Telegraph: 'This shocking and tragic case is everybody's worst nightmare but it also shows the urgent need to tighten up our asylum processes.
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Sir John Hayes, former minister and MP for South Holland and The Deepings, said he would be writing to the Home Secretary, James Cleverly, asking for an urgent review of the UK's asylum rules.
The mother and her two children were among 12 people injured when the "corrosive substance", thought to be an alkaline oven cleaner, was thrown in south London.
Ezedi was handed a suspended sentence in 2018 for "sexual assault" of an unpaid work order.
He was granted asylum in 2021 or 2022 after claiming he had converted to Christianity and a priest had vouched that Ezedi was “wholly committed” to his new religion, according to The Telegraph.
Ezedi was last seen in Caledonian Road, Islington, in North London, having initially travelled down from Newcastle.
Police said he has suffered "significant injuries" to the right side of his face and urged members of the public to get in touch if they see him.
They released a new image on Thursday evening, showing the extent of the damage to his face.
The Met's Superintendent Gabriel Cameron said: "We are now releasing an image of the last known sighting of Abdul Shokoor Ezedi, which was on Caledonian Road, N1 at 20:48hrs on Thursday, 31 January.
"The image is taken from the Tesco store, where Ezedi is believed to have purchased a bottle of water. He left the shop and turned right.
"The image shows Ezedi with what appears to be significant injuries to the right side of his face. This makes him distinctive.
"If you see Ezedi, call 999 immediately. He should NOT be approached."
A manhunt is under way for the "dangerous" suspect after he also allegedly threw the child to the ground in the attack in Lessar Avenue, near Clapham Common, at about 7.25pm on Wednesday.
Met police chief Mark Rowley has said that a total of 12 people were hurt in the attack.
This includes a woman and her two daughters, who police believe were known to the suspect.
The injuries may end up being life-changing, police said.
Meanwhile, four members of the public, three of whom went to hospital and were later discharged, were injured, as well as one who declined hospital treatment.
Five police officers, all of whom went to hospital, have also been discharged.
Mum-of-three Shannon Christie, who lives nearby, said: "I saw a little girl being thrown to the floor.
"At that point I ran in and grabbed her off the floor. I heard her mum shouting 'I can't see, I can't see'.
"So I called my partner to get some water. Staff at the hospital then came round and were dousing her with water."
Superintendent Cameron, a senior officer who polices in Lambeth, said earlier: "It was reported that a man had thrown a child to the ground and that a substance - which we now know to be alkaline - had been thrown.
"The man attempted to make off in a car but collided with a stationary vehicle, and then made off on foot, in the direction of Clapham Common.
"We believe the man and woman are known to each other. Our investigation is in its early stages and we are working to establish why this awful incident has happened."
He added: "We will catch him, I am wholeheartedly confident."
Superintendent Cameron added that police were working with other agencies to locate Abdul Ezedi.
"So we're liaising with other partners agencies," he said.
"We're working alongside Northumbria (Police), we believe the male is from the Newcastle area.
"And he could be going back there, he may not be, but he could be.
"British Transport Police are also working alongside us as well. So we are working in collaboration with other agencies to try and locate this male."
Anyone with information is urged to contact police on a special hotline 0207 175 2784. Members of the public have been warned against approaching the suspect and warned to call 999 immediately.