Woman 'burns both eyeballs' bravely intervening to save child, three, in Clapham chemical attack

4 February 2024, 07:18

A woman intervened to stop a man attacking a child in Clapham
A woman intervened to stop a man attacking a child in Clapham. Picture: Alamy/Met

By Will Taylor

A woman who intervened to try save a mother and her children in the Clapham chemical attack has "burnt both eyeballs".

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She came to the rescue as a man, suspected to be Abdul Ezedi, threw a corrosive substance at the trio on Wednesday.

The woman in her fifties bravely tackled the man 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].

Read more: NCA drafted in to probe 'gang links' to Clapham chemical attack suspect after corrosive substance tubs found

"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.

Ezedi has distinctive facial injuries
Ezedi has distinctive facial injuries. Picture: Metropolitan Police

"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."

A nationwide manhunt has been launched to find Ezedi, 35, who travelled down from Newcastle to London.

Read more: Moment police raid Clapham chemical attack suspect's house and find corrosive substance containers

He was in a relationship with the woman, 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 while her children were hurt, but less severely.

Addresses in London and Newcastle have been searched. Police found white tubs with corrosive substance labels on in his home in Newcastle.

A woman bravely intervened to save a child
A woman bravely intervened to save a child. Picture: Alamy

The Met has asked Britain's National Crime Agency for help amid fears he is being helped by an organised crime group.

Meanwhile, the Home Office is probing how Ezedi, from Afghanistan, 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.