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NCA drafted in to probe 'gang links' to Clapham chemical attack suspect after corrosive substance tubs found
4 February 2024, 00:07
The National Crime Agency has been drafted in to find Abdul Ezedi as they probe whether the Clapham chemical attack suspect had help from organised crime.
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Britain's version of the FBI has been drafted in to help the manhunt for Ezedi as it enters a fourth day.
The development comes as police release footage of the raid on Clapham chemical attack suspect Abdul Ezedi's house in Newcastle - along with new images of the wanted man.
Abdul Ezedi, 35, is being pursued by police after the mother, 31, and her two children were attacked with a corrosive substance in south London on Wednesday.
Metropolitan Police manhunters have released the footage after the search for Ezedi enters its third day.
The footage shows police entering the property in Newcastle - and finding white tubs with corrosive substance labels upon them.
Forensic tests, and now on the way to determine whether the containers held the substance used in the attack.
Alongside the footage, police also released images of the suspected attacker at Kings Cross railway station, where he was last seen.
The women targeted in the attack was left with likely life-changing injuries.
Her children, aged eight and three, were also hurt but their injuries are not as serious.
A relative, who has remained anonymous, has Ezedi - now travelled down from Newcastle and is the subject of a nationwide manhunt - was in a relationship with the woman.
"This isn't the man I know, I don't believe he would do that kind of thing," they said.
The relative said they wanted to "find out if he is alive or dead" and was "worried" about him.
New images released by police show a visible facial injury after the alkaline attack, which left a total of 12 people injured.
"His injury is very bad and he needs medical attention," the relative, who is in London, told Sky News.
"I will bring him in by myself if I have to."
The decision to allow Ezedi to stay in the UK was a "margin call" likely influenced by his claimed conversion to Christianity - and ministers are launching a review into how he was allowed to stay in the UK.
He was convicted of a sexual assault and twice denied asylum by the Home Office after arriving from Afghanistan.
Yet he was ultimately granted approval to stay when an immigration tribunal heard he had converted to Christianity and a priest vouched he was completely committed to it.
A source told The Times the decision to allow him to remain was "margin call" thought to have been swayed by that claimed conversion.
Now, ministers are looking into why he was allowed to stay.
Home secretary James Cleverly has demanded to be shown all the details of his case.
It has led to more criticism of the asylum system, with Ezedi having been smuggled into the UK in a lorry in 2016 - then gone on to be convicted of sexual assault and indecent exposure in 2018.
A senior Tory source said: "This is a terrible crime committed by someone who clearly should not have been in the UK.
"This is exactly why we are taking action to reform our asylum system and send illegal immigrants to Rwanda.
"Our new laws passed in the last two years mean serious criminals and illegal immigrants will not be able to claim asylum and stay in the UK — all of which Labour has tried to block, with Sir Keir Starmer himself campaigning to stop the deportations of dangerous foreign criminals."
Rishi Sunak's spokesman said the prime minister does not "think that foreign criminals should be able to stay in the country".
And yesterday, David Johnston, the children and families minister, told LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast the government wants to end the "merry-go-round" of the asylum system.
"Too often people in the public have seen people be able to frustrate the legal system, keep making legal appeals, eventually claim asylum where it's very unclear that they shouldn’t have been allowed to," he said.
He insisted the Rwanda plan would "remove the ability for people to make endless legal appeals".