Clapham chemical attack: police hunt ‘significantly injured’ but ‘dangerous’ suspect – latest updates | UK news

What do we know about the suspect?

As police appeal for information about the suspect’s whereabouts, here is a summary of what we know so far:

  • Abdul Shokoor Ezedi is 35 years old and from the Newcastle area

  • Police say the suspect has been left with “significant injuries to the right side of his face” following the incident

  • It is believed he was known to the victims, a mother and two young daughters

  • He was last seen in Caledonian Road, north London, around 8 miles from Clapham, but police have not said when

  • Ezedi “could be going back” to Newcastle, police said

  • Officers have urged the public not to approach Ezedi, after the Met previously described him as a “dangerous individual”

  • The suspect was granted asylum by the UK government after his conviction in 2018 for a sexual offence, after completing his sentence imposed at Newcastle crown court

  • He was believed by British government officials to be an Afghan national who arrived by lorry in 2016

  • British Transport Police are assisting with the manhunt.

  • If the public see Abdul Shokoor Ezedi, the advice is not to go near him, but instead to call 999.

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Key events

Jamie Grierson

Jamie Grierson

Bell Ribeiro-Addy, Labour MP for Streatham, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme she was concerned by the direction of questioning into Ezedi’s background. She said: “It’s definitely clear that there’s an issue with our criminal justice system. And you know, we do need to see some overhauls there.”

“In this country an average of two women are killed a week by their partner or their former partner. And so we’re living in a society that just normalises violence against women and girls.”

Asked if she was saying Ezedi’s asylum status was not a factor, she said: “I’m saying that the most important factor is violence against women and girls. The reasons as to why he was given asylum, we don’t know.

“There may have been some serious issues in terms of how the criminal justice system processed that particular issue of his particular sex offence. That may have been an issue.

“I’m saying the primary issue is violence against women and girls, because that is something that is carried about by people whether they subscribe to a particular faith, whether they have a particular ethnicity, whether they were born in this country or not.

“It’s something that is right across our society and we need to look at prevention because ultimately is better than killing. And we keep getting to this place where we’re talking about horrible incidents of violence against women after they’ve happened.”

Jamie Grierson

Jamie Grierson

Dal Babu, a former chief superintendent in the Metropolitan police, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme the Metropolitan police, Northumbria and British Transport Police forces will be working together to form an intelligence cell to aid the hunt for Ezedi.

Babu said there would be “questions asked” about the nature of the offence for which Ezedi was previously convicted.

“We understand it was exposure,” he said. “These are often gateway offences.”

“So there will be questions asked around what probation were doing, how they were monitoring him, and it may well be that they’ve done everything. Certainly there will be questions.

“I think there’s some wider questions, which is perhaps beyond my expertise, but around asylum. He claimed to have converted to Christianity. And I know that this will feature in terms of the review of this case, which inevitably there will be.”

Sammy Gecsoyler

Sammy Gecsoyler

There was a sense of shock in Clapham yesterday after the attack. A witness said he heard screaming outside and saw a child banging on the window of a car before seeing a man throwing a substance on a woman.

They told the Guardian:

I started to hear screaming. I looked out of my window and saw a woman had got hit by a car.

Her daughter banged on the car window to tell the guy behind the wheel to get out.

At that point, he threw acid on her. Then he took a girl who must have been three years old out of the backseat and picked her up and smashed her on the floor twice.

Then he ran away because people started chasing him. After that I heard a woman screaming: ‘My eyes, my eyes, where are my children?’ She was running up and down with her eyes covered.

Neighbours came out and began splashing water in her eyes. The little kid kept on screaming: ‘Where is my mummy?’”

Another resident called the suspect “mad and bad” and said that while violence in the area was not common, “nowhere in London is safe”.

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The Met has released two images of suspect Abdul Ezedi so far:

A police handout photo of Abdul Ezedi. Photograph: Metropolitan Police/Guardian
CCTV footage of Abdul Ezedi in the Caledonian Road Tesco, north London. Photograph: Metropolitan Police/Communication & Engagement

The children’s minister, David Johnston, was pressed by Sky News this morning on the decision to grant asylum to the suspect after his conviction in 2018 for a sexual offence.

He said:

I don’t have his case file and I can’t say anything that might affect the police’s investigation here.

He is still at large and what we really need is anyone with information to come forward in order that he can be apprehended, given he is police’s key suspect.

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What do we know about the suspect?

As police appeal for information about the suspect’s whereabouts, here is a summary of what we know so far:

  • Abdul Shokoor Ezedi is 35 years old and from the Newcastle area

  • Police say the suspect has been left with “significant injuries to the right side of his face” following the incident

  • It is believed he was known to the victims, a mother and two young daughters

  • He was last seen in Caledonian Road, north London, around 8 miles from Clapham, but police have not said when

  • Ezedi “could be going back” to Newcastle, police said

  • Officers have urged the public not to approach Ezedi, after the Met previously described him as a “dangerous individual”

  • The suspect was granted asylum by the UK government after his conviction in 2018 for a sexual offence, after completing his sentence imposed at Newcastle crown court

  • He was believed by British government officials to be an Afghan national who arrived by lorry in 2016

  • British Transport Police are assisting with the manhunt.

  • If the public see Abdul Shokoor Ezedi, the advice is not to go near him, but instead to call 999.

Updated at 

The Metropolitan police have alerted other forces in case the 35-year-old tries to flee London, with a superintendent, Gabriel Cameron, saying he was last seen in the Caledonian Road area of north London, and was believed to have travelled from the north-east of England to carry out the attack.

He did not confirm what substance was used, saying many such corrosive products were readily available in high street shops, nor how the attacker sustained his injury.

What happened during the attack?

Emergency services were called to Lessar Avenue in Clapham at about 7.25pm on Wednesday after a woman and her daughters were doused with what detectives called an alkaline substance.

The victims were taken to hospital along with members of the public and police officers who were injured as they tried to help.

In total, 12 people were injured in the attack, police said.

The 31-year-old woman, who is believed to be known to Ezedi, and her three-year-old and eight-year-old daughters were in a stable condition in hospital on Thursday afternoon.

However, the woman and the youngest daughter may have suffered life-changing injuries, police said.

Map of Clapham Common area showing Lessar Avenue

Three members of the public who came to the aid of the family, two in their 30s and one in her 50s, have all been discharged from hospital with minor burns.

The force said five officers who responded to the incident were also treated and have now left hospital.

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Manhunt continues for suspect

Thirty-six hours after 12 people were hurt in a chemical attack in Clapham, south-west London, the main suspect remains at large.

Scotland Yard is hunting a “significantly injured” suspect who allegedly left a “vulnerable” young woman and her toddler with potentially life-changing wounds after throwing a corrosive substance over them.

Detectives shared a new photo of Abdul Ezedi on Thursday, calling him “dangerous” and highlighting the injured right side of his face while appealing for witnesses to come forward. But they warned: “If you see him, do not approach him.”

We’ll bring you the latest updates as we get them.

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