Live

Clapham chemical attack LIVE: Suspect Abdul Ezedi 'slammed girl, 3, to ground,' witness says

5 February 2024, 08:52

Police are still hunting for the suspect behind a chemical attack in Clapham
Police are still hunting for the suspect behind a chemical attack in Clapham. Picture: Alamy/Met Police

By Asher McShane

A manhunt for the suspect behind the Clapham chemical attack continues today.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Abdul Ezedi, 35, from the Newcastle area, has been described by police as having "significant injuries to the right side of his face".

He was last seen at a supermarket in north London on Wednesday evening - just over an hour after an attack on a 31-year-old woman and her two children, aged three and eight.

The victims are believed to be known to Ezedi.

Read more: Hunt for fugitive convicted sex attacker enters third day after mother and two daughters maimed in chemical attack

He is understood to have been convicted of a sexual offence in 2018 and given a suspended sentence at Newcastle Crown Court.

He is also a former asylum seeker from Afghanistan who travelled to the UK on a lorry in 2016, it emerged on Thursday.

Follow below for the latest live.

£20,000 reward offered

A £20,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest of the Clapham chemical attack suspect has been offered by Scotland Yard.

Read the full story here

Hiding with 'allies' or may have taken his own life

A suspect who is the subject of a police manhunt in the Clapham chemical attack could have taken his own life or be using an ally to stay hidden, a former senior police officer has said.

Metropolitan Police officers have been searching for Abdul Ezedi since Wednesday after a 31-year-old woman and her daughters, aged eight and three, were attacked in Clapham.

Nick Aldworth, a former national counter-terrorism co-ordinator, told the BBC: "I think if we've not seen or heard from him in the the last couple of days, which appears to be the case, he's gone to ground, possibly supported by somebody... or it's not unlikely or improbable that he may have taken his own life. There is therefore a body to be found somewhere."

Mr Aldworth said the force would be tracking Ezedi's movements through public cameras, which had been a "very effective" method in previous cases.

Asked if the Met Police would now have a precise location for his whereabouts, he said: "I think they'll have a very good sense of what area he's in.

"What you can't discount of course is that he has been picked up by an ally and moved somewhere else, perhaps in a vehicle. The reason they've offered a £20,000 reward is usually because there's a sense that somebody inside the community might well be harbouring this individual."

Suspect 'slammed child to the ground'

Prime suspect Abdul Ezedi “slammed a three year old girl to the ground like a wrestler” during the attack, a witness has claimed.

A woman, who asked to remain anonymous said she saw him  drag a child from a car before slamming her on the ground twice and running off. 

“The sound, the thud, the scream, that’s when I realised it was a little girl being slammed to the ground, like a WWF wrestling move,” she said.

Manhunt continues on fifth day

Good morning, 

Our coverage continues today of the hunt for a man who carried out a chemical attack in Clapham.

Clapham resident

Rachael, a Clapham resident who was injured in the chemical attack, has described the horror on Wednesday evening.

“The screaming was so intense, it sounded like something serious was going on out there. That made me go outside," she told The times.

“Initially I thought it was a car crash. But then I did see the man take the [youngest] child out [of the car] and I saw him throw the child — and just run off down the road.

"I called the police and an ambulance.

“I realised that the mum, her entire face was covered with the liquid and I knew it was some sort of acid or something.”

Clapham suspect was given permission to stay in UK on a 'margin call'

Ezedi was allowed to stay in the UK on a "margin call" likely influenced by his claimed conversion to Christianity.

That's despite repeat asylum rejections and a sexual assault conviction.

Read the latest here

Police raided Leytonstone flat in early hours of Friday

On Friday, the Met announced five properties had been raided in the search for the suspect.

One of the raids was reportedly carried out on a property in Leytonstone, east London where the suspect's brother is thought to live. 

Residents of the block of flats were reportedly evacuated at around 2am on Friday and questioned by officers. 

An audio recording obtained by Sky News of the evacuation hears officers instructing neighbours: “Show me your hands. How many of you are there? Come out slowly, put your hands on your heads and walk toward me. One by one, move to your right and keep going.

"We are police officers and we have a search warrant for this address. We are looking for someone. It's not safe for you to be in there."

It is thought the suspect’s brother was among the residents evacuated, although he claimed to have had no recent contact with Ezedi. 

Eyewitness tells LBC she ‘can’t sleep’ after witnessing attack

A resident of Lessar Avenue, the road where the attack happened, told LBC: “I saw the lady running around, screaming help.

“The oldest girl was outside of the car banging on the back window. The youngest child was on the back seat of the car.

“He had put her in the car I think. He flung the door open and dragged her out of the car by her legs. He threw her to the ground, it was so horrible.

“She was wearing a backpack. He picked her up again, lifted her by her backpack, and threw her back down to the ground. It’s like he said ‘ok, take it’.

“Even with an animal you can’t do that.”

“My kids are a similar age, they were all screaming. They are still so scared. All the time we are thinking about this. My youngest can’t sleep, and they keep asking me if they have caught the bad man.

“I cannot sleep without thinking of this family and what he did to the youngest girl.”

Mother injured in Clapham attack still "very poorly"

The 31-year-old mother, believed to be known to Ezedi, who was attacked with a corrosive alkaline substance remains "very poorly", police say.

She is sedated in hospital, and her injuries are thought to be "life-changing".

 The injuries to her daughters, aged three and eight, are "not likely to be life-changing", Commander Savell said.

'Hand yourself in'

Met Police Commander Jon Savell told Ezedi directly: “We’ve seen the images. You need some medical help, so do the right thing and hand yourself in.”

He told a press conference: "In terms of our manhunt for Ezedi, we've got a large team of very experienced detectives leading the manhunt, using all the tactics that you would expect us to use, lots of officers out on the ground.

"We're working very closely with colleagues from Transport for London, British Transport Police and our colleagues in Northumbria Police as well.

"Last night, five search warrants were executed - two in East London and three up in Newcastle. We've recovered some significant and important pieces of evidence which will help with our investigation."