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New warning to 'anyone helping Clapham chemical attack suspect' as Met posts £20k reward
4 February 2024, 12:34 | Updated: 4 February 2024, 22:50
A £20,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest of the Clapham chemical attack suspect has been posted by the Met.
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The force said it believes there are people who know where Abdul Ezedi is but have not come forward, and they have been threatened with arrest.
In an update, police also said they have narrowed down the substance used against a woman, leaving her with life-changing injuries, and issued new CCTV from Wednesday.
Commander Jon Savell said: "I am hugely grateful to the public for the significant number of calls that we have received.
"Your help is critical. A reward of up to £20,000 is now available for information leading to his arrest.
"I must warn anyone who is helping Ezedi to evade capture - if you are harbouring or assisting him then you will be arrested.
"Our inquiry line is staffed 24/7 by specialist detectives who are progressing enquiries around-the-clock. If you know where he is or have information that may assist call them now."
A nationwide manhunt has been launched to find Ezedi, 35, originally from Afghanistan, who travelled down from Newcastle to London on Wednesday.
Police release CCTV of Clapham attack suspect
Police believe he used "a very strong concentrated corrosive substance, either liquid sodium hydroxide or liquid sodium carbonate" against the woman.
He was in a relationship with her, according to a relative. She was staying at a hotel near to where the attack took place.
She has been left with likely life-changing injuries and is in a critical but stable condition in hospita, while her children were hurt, but less severely. Witnesses who intervened were also hurt.
Police say that having travelled down to Clapham, he took a Tube to North London and was seen on a CCTV at Tesco in Caledonian Road on Wednesday evening. Police issued footage of that on Sunday, having previously released a still showing his distinctive facial injury.
He was last spotted leaving Tower Hill Tube station at 9.33pm on January 31, having changed trains at Victoria.
Officers are trying to trace where he went next.
Darius Nasimi, of the charity the Afghanistan and Central Asian Association, said: "Abdul, I am speaking directly to you. I want you to go straight to a police station immediately.
"You have a serious injury that needs to be seen to but, more importantly, you must do the right thing and hand yourself in to police. This has gone on for long enough.
"You can contact the charity if you wish and we can speak to you, and work together so that you can help the police with their enquiries. Abdul, please contact us as soon as you can, call 999, or go to a police station."
A woman who intervened to try save a mother and her children in the attack has "burnt both eyeballs".
The woman in her fifties bravely tackled the suspect as he appeared to try to harm the 31-year-old mother's child, aged three. Her other child, eight, was also hurt.
The Good Samaritan's partner, a City worker, who has also not been named, said: “We had no idea any substance was involved; only that the guy was clearly intent on hurting the [three-year-old].
"He then went to pick the child up off the road to do it [throw the child to the ground] again, which is when my partner lunged in and tackled him, grabbing his leg and falling to the ground in the process like a rugby tackle."
He told The Times she has "burnt both eyeballs" and may have permanently damaged them. She sees specialists each day.
He has suffered injuries to his arms.
"My partner immediately starts saying she has sharp pain in her eye. She thinks at the time that she has detached her retina, but then I start feeling pain on my arms and realise it could be acid," he said.
"I have no doubt that if my partner had not jumped in then the child would no longer be with us, and if our other neighbours hadn't immediately taken the family and washed them down then their injuries would have been far worse."
Addresses in London and Newcastle have been searched. Police found white tubs with corrosive substance labels on in his home in Newcastle.
The Met has asked Britain's National Crime Agency for help amid fears he is being helped by an organised crime group.
His details are being circulated at all UK ports. UK Visas and Immigration, Border Force and the British Transport Police are also involved in the hunt, as are several other forces.
Meanwhile, the Home Office is probing how Ezedi was given asylum in the UK after arriving in the back of a lorry.
He was convicted of sexual assault and indecent exposure in 2018 and rejected for asylum twice, but won his right to stay at an immigration tribunal when he claimed to have converted to Christianity and a priest said he was "wholly committed" to the faith.