Met police appeal for help as Clapham chemical attack suspect hunt enters fourth day | UK news

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With the hunt for Abdul Ezedi entering its fourth day, police have appealed for the public to come forward with information about the suspected chemical attacker.

Investigators released two images of white plastic bottles with warnings about corrosive substances, which may be linked to the attack on a 31-year-old woman and her two daughters last week.

Officers from the Metropolitan police, the British Transport Police, Northumbria police and the National Crime Agency have used warrants to carry out searches at two addresses in east London and three in Newcastle.

One was at Ezedi’s home in Newcastle, and footage from body-worn cameras showed the moment when officers from Northumbria police entered. The white-walled apartment was sparsely furnished and the video appeared to show only a pair of shoes on a bedside table and a kettle next to the kitchen sink.

Police search Newcastle flat during manhunt for Abdul Ezedi – video

Commander Jon Savell of the Met said the investigation to locate Ezedi was “continuing at pace” and thanked people who had contacted officers.

“We have received dozens of calls with information, including possible sightings, and every single piece of information has been recorded and forms part of our investigation,” he said.

Officers would use “every available tool and tactic for as long as it takes” to find Ezedi, he added, and urged the public to remain vigilant and contact police immediately if they saw Ezedi, without approaching him.

The 31-year-old woman, who Sky News reported had been in a relationship with Ezedi, remained in hospital on Saturday and police described her condition as “critical but stable” after suffering burns from an alkaline substance. Her daughters, aged three and eight, were also injured in the attack, although their injuries are not as serious as first thought, police said. Nine other people also suffered injuries while helping the victims.

Ezedi, is a 35-year-old Afghan, who officials say arrived in the UK in 2016 in a lorry. He was given a suspended sentence after being convicted of sexual assault and exposure in 2018. By 2022 he had been granted refugee status after two failed attempts, apparently on the basis that he had converted to Christianity. Conservative MPs have called for an investigation into how he was given asylum.

Ezedi’s brother Hassan told the Sun newspaper he would hand in his elder sibling if he knew where he was.

Police in London and Newcastle have established that Ezedi’s car was in Newcastle shortly after midnight on Wednesday. Six-and-a-half hours later, the car was seen in Tooting, south London.

Later that afternoon, the car was sighted in Croydon, and then he was seen driving it in Streatham at 7pm.

It is about a 10-minute drive from there to Lessar Avenue in Clapham where the attack took place. The street is opposite Clapham Common, a mixture of expensive Victorian houses and mansion flats built after the blitz. Residents were roused by sounds of shouting and a car smashing into other parked vehicles. One said they heard a woman shouting “I’ve got to get back to work, leave me alone.”

As it became clear that the 31-year-old woman and her children had been attacked, people rushed to help, including Shannon Christi, a bus driver.

“As I run outside I’ve seen this guy throwing a child on the floor,” she told the Press Association. “He picked her up and threw her again. So at that point I ran in and I grabbed her and took her into my block.”

Witnesses said a child had run to a white car, allegedly Ezedi’s, and had been banging on the door before the youngster was attacked. Christi saw the 31-year-old woman walking along the road saying “I can’t see”.

Others said they believed she had been attacked with pepper spray, but it soon became clear that another more corrosive substance had been used, as bystanders were also harmed.

Staff from the nearby Dudley Hotel came to help with towels and water.

Meanwhile, it’s alleged Ezedi abandoned his car and fled. “He ran off towards the common,” said Oliver Whale, who lives in one of the mansion blocks nearby and didn’t see the initial commotion. “I think two people chased him but they lost him. One was wearing slippers I think.” But the pursuers lost the man alleged to be Ezedi in the darkness.

According to police, the woman was attacked at 7.25pm and it is alleged that by 7.33pm Ezedi had made his way to Clapham South station, at the corner of the common, and got on a Northern line train.

He arrived at King’s Cross station and left again just before 8pm. What he did for the next 45 minutes is unclear, but at 8.42pm security cameras at a Tesco Express in Caledonian Road recorded him in the store, carrying a large bottle of water.

The images released by the Met show him with an apparently serious injury to his right eye and cheek, consistent with a chemical burn.

Anywhere else, he would have stood out, but King’s Cross is busy in the evenings and locals describe that end of Cally Road as “old King’s Cross”. “There are so many misfits around here that he would have fit right in,” said one business owner.

Gurpal Kaur, a local, was in the area that evening. “It’s quite busy,” she said. “There’s so many pubs and stuff around here. Most days there’s loads of people around.

“I didn’t know he’d been here. You just don’t know who you can trust – people are so narcissistic and wicked.”

Ezedi walked back from the shop towards the train station, probably crossing the crowded piazza in front of the overground station and going back on the underground. Further CCTV footage released by police shows him wearing a blue high-tech T-shirt and carrying a black jacket, his injuries clearly visible.

Ezedi was last seen getting on a Victoria line train going south. After that, the trail has gone cold.