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Man arrested for aiding Clapham attack suspect as police say injured children are not his and mum could lose eye
5 February 2024, 16:18 | Updated: 5 February 2024, 17:11
The children hurt in the Clapham chemical attack are not the suspect's, police have said, after they arrested a man on suspicion of helping him.
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Suspect Abdul Ezedi is suspected of throwing a corrosive substance over a woman and her two daughters near Clapham Common on Wednesday night, giving them life-changing injuries, and hurting several other people who came to their aid.
The 35-year-old Afghan asylum seeker, who lives in Newcastle and was convicted of a sexual offence in 2018, made off from the scene with significant injuries to his face.
Officers are still hunting for him five days on from the attack, and said on Monday that their main line of enquiry is that someone is harbouring him.
The woman, who suffered potentially life-changing injuries, was known to Ezedi and remains in hospital in a critical but stable condition.
Police said in a briefing on Monday that a 22-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of helping the suspect. The 22-year-old, from London, was arrested in the early hours of Monday and has been released on bail.
Officers said 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.
Ezedi suffered a serious injury to his right eye - and police are not ruling out that he may have come to further harm.
It is unclear what has happened to Ezedi, and may have fled the country, a former Met Police detective warned as the manhunt enters its fifth day.
Peter Kirkham, former detective chief inspector in the Metropolitan Police told LBC his "best guess" was that Ezedi was being sheltered by an ally or had escaped abroad.
He said: "He's not somebody where you're relying on the public to remember a description and be able to recognise a face in crowds of hundreds and thousands.
"But he's got a very distinctive injury to his face so he's going to be noticed."
Tom Swarbrick wonders how chemical attack suspect was granted asylum
Kirkham said he was "surprised that he hasn't come to light so far" and concluded that this left two options.
"The most likely is that he's somewhere being sheltered by friends and relatives," Kirkham said, "or secondly that he's managed to escape from the UK.
"I say the first one is probably favoured on the basis it doesn't appear to be a planned escape.
"He would have intended to drive away from the scene rather than be on tubes and busses and suchlike - but he had the collision with his vehicle it would seem."
Kirkham said another option may be that Ezedi had done himself harm but stressed it would generally come to light very swiftly if this was the case.