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Clapham chemical attack suspect 'exposed himself to woman', friend claims as police manhunt continues
6 February 2024, 15:54
The Clapham chemical attack suspect 'exposed himself to a woman' waiting at a bus stop, a friend has claimed.
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A manhunt searching for Abdul Ezedi is now on its sixth day after he allegedly doused a 31-year-old woman and her two daughters, aged eight and three, in an alkaline substance before trying to run them over in a car before fleeing.
Ezedi, 35, was convicted of a sexual offence in 2018 and handed a suspended sentence. He was listed on the sexual offenders' register for 10 years.
A friend of the suspect, an Iranian asylum seeker who works in a pizza shop, has now revealed details of the incident, and the man he knew as "Shapoor".
"It was so out of character," he told The Telegraph. 'We were so shocked to discover what he had done to the two women.'
He said the sexual assault involved Ezedi reportedly exposing himself to a woman who was about to catch a bus.
Ezedi did not go to jail for the assault but was given a tag on his leg and lost his job, he said. The friend said he secured new work and the tag was taken off. He told the paper that Ezedi was sending money back home to Afghanistan.
Ezedi was convicted of the sexual offence in 2018 in Newcastle but was not deported as the incident was not deemed severe enough to have his leave to remain scrapped.
Originally from Afghanistan and twice refused asylum, Ezedi was granted leave to remain in the UK after a priest vouched for his "wholly committed" conversion to Christianity.
The friend said his supposed conversion was a "joke" and that Ezedi was from a strict Muslim family.
He said his father would be "so furious" if he had converted to Christianity as he it a "devout Muslim" and a "very respected man in the community at home".
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Ezedi's friend said his father would be asking him if he was praying, fasting, and living as "a good Muslim". " It was so important to him that Shapoor was living as he had in Afghanistan," the friend said.
Providing further information on the missing suspect, the friend said Ezedi was "intelligent" and had recently enrolled in a college course in Newcastle in the hope of improving his English.
He also said Ezedi was single and understood that he didn't have a wife or children.
"I was so shocked," the friend said in reaction to the alleged chemical attack. He said he had rarely seen him get angry before and was only ever focused on saving money to send home to his family.
It comes after a 22-year-old was arrested on Monday on suspicion of helping the Ezedi.
The 22-year-old, from London, was arrested in the early hours of Monday and has been released on bail.
Officers added that the two girls, aged eight and three, have been discharged from hospital and are expected to make "a good recovery".
But their mother is expected to lose her right eye, and is still sedated. She remains in a critical but stable condition.
Police said she had "very severe facial injuries" that she is likely to have for the rest of her life.
The last confirmed sighting of Ezedi was on Southwark Bridge in central London at 9:50 on Wednesday - over two hours since the attack.
His bank card was being used for Tube journeys and hasn’t been used since Wednesday night.
A £20,000 reward is in place for anyone with information leading to the arrest of Ezedi.