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How Clapham chemical attack fugitive escaped on the Tube as last known movements revealed

Police are urging Abdul Ezedi to ‘do the right thing’ and turn himself in, as they release new photos of sole Clapham attack suspect

Andy Gregory
Friday 02 February 2024 18:49 GMT
Met police make ‘personal appeal’ to Clapham chemical attack suspect as manhunt continues

Police hunting for the fugitive sex offender suspected of attacking a mother and two young girls with a corrosive substance in Clapham have revealed that he was last sighted boarding a London Tube, after five overnight raids uncovered “significant” new evidence.

Abdul Shokoor Ezedi was spotted boarding a southbound Victoria line at King’s Cross station at 9pm on Wednesday, just over 90 minutes after the alkaline attack which left 12 people with injuries, including five police officers and four members of the public who attempted to help the victims.

Urging the fugitive – who has himself sustained significant facial injuries – to “do the right thing” and hand himself in on Friday, the Metropolitan Police issued new images of the Ezedi from King’s Cross and gave an updated timeline of his movements on the day of the attack.

Abdul Ezedi was spotted at King’s Cross station just over 90 minutes after the attack (Metropolitan Police)

Speaking outside New Scotland Yard, Commander Jon Savell confirmed that the mother targeted in the “horrific” Lessar Avenue attack remained sedated and “very poorly” in hospital, and was potentially facing life-changing injuries.

However, the injuries suffered by her two daughters – aged three and eight – were not as severe first feared, and are not likely to be life-changing, he said. A witness previously told The Independent they thought the toddler was dead after the attacker pulled her from a car and threw her twice to the ground like a “ragdoll”.

Commander Savell said police had obtained “significant and important” new evidence in overnight raids at two addresses in east London and three in Newcastle, where Ezedi is believed to have travelled to London from early on Wednesday morning.

Giving the most detailed outline of Ezedi’s movements yet, Commander Savell said he was seen in Tooting at around 6.30am on the day of the chemical attack, with a further sighting of his vehicle at 4.30pm in Croydon, and then in Streatham at around 7pm.

The attack took place at around 7.25pm in Clapham. He was seen boarding a train eight minutes later at Clapham South underground station, and was next seen at King’s Cross at 8pm. Some 45 minutes later, he was seen in Tesco in Caledonian Road buying a bottle of water, with significant injuries on one side of his face.

CCTV appears to capture moment Clapham 'acid attack' unfolded

“Thankfully, due to the great response we’ve had from the public, we are able to follow him and know that he got on a train at 9pm, a Victoria line Tube heading south,” said Commander Savell.

He added: “In terms of our manhunt for Ezedi, we’ve got a large team of very experienced detectives leading the manhunt, using all the tactics that you would expect us to use, lots of officers out on the ground.”

Appealing directly to the fugitive, the senior police officer said: “Abdul, you clearly have got some very significant injuries. We’ve seen the images. You need some medical help, so do the right thing and hand yourself in.”

Abdul Ezedi was convicted of sex offences in 2018 (AP)

It has emerged that Ezedi was handed a suspended sentence in January 2018 after pleading guilty to charges of sexual assault and indecent exposure, before being granted asylum in either 2021 or 2022 from his native Afghanistan.

Having reportedly arrived in Britain by lorry in 2016, the 35-year-old was refused asylum on two occasions but was eventually granted leave to remain after converting to Christianity.

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Former home secretary Suella Braverman was among Conservatives to seize upon the attack – arguing that the case showed why Britain should leave the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

“Spurious claims based on religion are commonplace in our asylum system. The bar is low, it’s easy to game the system and it happens,” Ms Braverman claimed.

And Labour’s shadow secretary Yvette Cooper wrote to home secretary James Cleverly about the “very serious questions which need to be answered about decision-making at the Home Office and the way his case was handled”.

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