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Abdul Ezedi manhunt latest LIVE: Clapham chemical attack suspect told 'hand yourself in' as CCTV images released of Tube escape

Police have made a desperate appeal to the Clapham alkaline attack suspect, urging him to "do the right thing" and hand himself in as a large-scale manhunt continues.

Abdul Ezedi, 35, from the Newcastle area, described by police as having “significant injuries to the right side of his face”, is still on the run. He was last spotted boarding a southbound Victoria Line Tube from King's Cross station at 9pm on Wednesday, just an hour and a half after the attack.

A mother, 31, who had the chemical substance thrown over her in Lessar Avenue near Clapham Common around 7.25pm, remains "very poorly" and is sedated in hospital.

Speaking outside Scotland Yard on Friday afternoon, Commander Jon Savell said her two young daughters, aged three and eight, have injuries that are "not as serious as first thought".

Five search warrants were executed across east London and Newcastle on Thursday night, with "significant evidence" recovered.

"Two empty containers with corrosive warnings on the label were found at an address in Newcastle. Forensic tests are currently ongoing to see if the containers held the substance used in the attack in Clapham," Mr Savell said.

Fresh CCTV images of the suspect have been released. He was spotted in Tooting, Streatham and Croydon in the hours leading up to the attack.

Making his direct appeal to Abdul Ezedi, Mr Savell 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."

Follow latest updates below...

Key updates

Live coverage ends

Friday 2 February 2024 21:37 , Josh Salisbury

We are now ending our live coverage for the evening. Thank you for joining us through the day's developments.

For an overview of everything that happened today, please read our story here.

Church group confirms Ezedi was a member

Friday 2 February 2024 19:38 , Josh Salisbury

Ezedi's asylum claim was granted after a priest confirmed he had converted to Christianity, which would put him at risk in his native country, according to reports.

However, it is not known yet which Christian denomination supported Ezedi's claim.

The Catholic Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle have issued a statement confirming that the Clapham attack suspect was known to them, and had been part of a charity project.

However, the church group said they were “in the process of checking" if Ezedi had been "received into the Catholic faith" and if he had been given any other support.

Home Secretary 'demands papers' over Ezedi asylum decision

Friday 2 February 2024 17:59 , Josh Salisbury

James Cleverly is to demand all the paperwork on the decision to grant Ezedi asylum, according to reports.

The 35-year-old was convicted of a sex offence in 2018 before reportedly being granted asylum.

Mr Cleverly has now demanded that he see the papers around that decision, reported The Guardian newspaper.

Both Conservative MPs and Labour have raised concern at the decision to grant Ezedi, the man named by the Met Police as their suspect in Wednesday's chemical attack, asylum.

Labour raises concerns over Ezedi asylum

Friday 2 February 2024 17:36 , Josh Salisbury

Away from the police press conference, Labour has written to Home Secretary James Cleverly saying that the alkali substance attack "raises very serious questions" about the process that granted Ezedi asylum in Britain.

Abdul Ezedi, who is still on the run, is reportedly from Afghanistan and it is understood he was convicted of a sexual offence in 2018 and given a suspended sentence.

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper, questioned whether the home secretary in 2018 "considered deportation" following Ezedi's conviction.

Suggesting he was later granted asylum in October 2020, she also asked whether the Home Office made "representations during the appeal hearing that the individual should be denied asylum because of his offending history".

She added: "It is of real concern that a convicted foreign national sex offender has been allowed to remain in the UK in these circumstances."

Appeal to those who saw Ezedi immediately after attack

Friday 2 February 2024 17:26 , Josh Salisbury

In today's statement, police have appealed for help in tracking Ezedi after his last known sighting, going south bound on a Victoria line Tube at King's Cross at 9pm Wednesday.

However, they also want to hear from those whi saw him in the immediate aftermath of the attack.

Met Commander Jon Savell said: “Following the attack, we know he travelled from Clapham South Underground Station to King’s Cross Underground Station and I want to appeal for anyone who may have seen him travelling on this route between 7.30pm and 8pm."

What do we know about people who came to victims' aid?

Friday 2 February 2024 17:09 , Josh Salisbury

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

Five officers who responded to the incident were also treated and have now left hospital.

One witness to the attack, bus driver Shannon Christi, told the PA news agency she was affected by the substance while trying to help the woman and two children outside her home.

She told of seeing a man throwing a child on the floor, before hearing the mother saying: "I can't see, I can't see."

As well as the 11 people taken to hospital, a man in his 50s, who also helped, declined hospital treatment for minor injuries, police said.

What do we know about Ezedi's past?

Friday 2 February 2024 16:57 , Josh Salisbury

After the attack, it emerged Ezedi, who is believed to be from Afghanistan, was convicted of a sexual offence in 2018 and given a suspended sentence at Newcastle Crown Court.

He was sentenced on January 9 of that year after pleading guilty to one charge of sexual assault and one of exposure.

Ezedi was put on the Sex Offenders Register for 10 years.

He was granted asylum after two failed attempts, having reportedly travelled to the UK on a lorry in 2016, it is believed.

Ezedi was allowed to stay in the country after a priest confirmed he had converted to Christianity and was "wholly committed" to his new religion, The Daily Telegraph newspaper reported.

An asylum seeker can claim asylum in the UK on the basis of religious persecution in their native country.

Met commander: 'Large manhunt' for Ezedi

Friday 2 February 2024 16:51 , Josh Salisbury

In his earlier update to the media, Commander Jon Savell said there as a very large manhunt for Ezedi.

Mr Savell said: "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.

"We're working very closely with colleagues from Transport for London, British Transport Police and our colleagues in Northumbria Police as well."

He added that there had been dozens of calls reporting sightings of Ezedi.

"We have received dozens of calls of possible sightings of Abdul Ezedi and every single one has been followed up and investigated," he said.

Empty chemical bottles found at Newcastle address

Friday 2 February 2024 16:20 , Josh Salisbury

A further detail given by police as they release CCTV images is that two empty containers with corrosive warnings on the label were found at an address in Newcastle.

Forensic tests are currently ongoing to see if the containers held the substance used in the attack in Clapham, police said.

The evidence was uncovered during one of five raids overnight, three of which took place in Newcastle, while two took place in east London.

Timeline of Ezedi's movements on night of attack

Friday 2 February 2024 16:17 , Josh Salisbury

Timeline of Ezedi’s movements the night of the attack:

  • 00:15 – Ezedi’s vehicle is seen in Newcastle

  • 06:30 – His vehicle is then seen traveling into Tooting, London

  • 16:30 – A further sighting of his vehicle is confirmed in Croydon

  • 19:00 – He is then seen driving in Streatham

  • 19:25 – Attack takes place in Lessar Avenue, SW4, before Ezedi makes off in his vehicle which crashes nearby. He leaves the car and runs off.

  • 19:33 – Ezedi boards a train at Clapham South Tube Station.

  • 19:59 – He is then seen leaving that train at King’s Cross Tube Station.

  • 20:42 – He is then seen on CCTV leaving Tesco at 21 Caledonian Rd, London N1 9DX. He exits and turns right.

  • 21:00 - Ezedi enters King’s Cross Tube Station and boards a Victoria Line tube Southbound. Police are appealing for the public to help find him.

New CCTV images released of Ezedi

Friday 2 February 2024 16:12 , Josh Salisbury

Two new CCTV images of Ezedi, taken at King's Cross station on the night of the attack, have been released by the Met Police.

It shows him with a significant injury over his right eye, wearing a blue t-shirt and a black coat.

CCTV image of Abdul Ezedi at King's Cross Underground Station (Met Police)
CCTV image of Abdul Ezedi at King's Cross Underground Station (Met Police)
Ezedi at King's Cross Underground Station (Met Police)
Ezedi at King's Cross Underground Station (Met Police)

What did we learn from update?

Friday 2 February 2024 15:57 , Josh Salisbury

Here are the key points from Commander Jon Savell's update to the media on the manhunt for Abdul Ezedi:

- The mother attacked is sedated in hospital, and is described as "very poorly." Her two young children, however, are in a better condition than first thought, and will not suffer life-changing injuries.

- Five search warrants were executed overnight, two in east London, three in Newcastle. "Significant" evidence was found as part of those raids, said Commander Savell.

- A new sighting has been made of Ezedi, who was last seen boarding a Victoria line train at 9pm on the night of the attack, going south bound.

- A CCTV image of Ezedi on-board the train will be released to the media shortly.

Clapham suspect told: 'Hand yourself in'

Friday 2 February 2024 15:49 , Josh Salisbury

In an appeal to the suspect, Commander Savell says: “Abdul, you have clearly got some significant injuries, you’ve seen the images.

“You need some medical help. So do the right thing, and hand yourself in.”

The press statement has now ended.

Further sighting of Ezedi on Victoria line tube

Friday 2 February 2024 15:47 , Josh Salisbury

Officers have found further CCTV images of Ezedi on a Victoria line tube at 9pm on the night of the attack, and have asked for the public’s help in identifying where he went.

However, the public should not approach him.

Outlining Ezedi’s movements, Commander Savell says: “We know that Ezedi left Newcastle in the very early hours of Wednesday morning and he travelled down south to London.

At around 6.30am he was in the Tooting area, there was a further sighting of his vehicle at 4.30pm in Croydon, and then at about 7pm, he was in the Streatham area.

“As you know, the awful attack took place at 25 minutes past seven in the Clapham area, and at 33 minutes past seven, he boards a train at Clapham South Tube.

“We know that about 8pm, he was at King’s Cross station, and then at quarter to nine, you’ve seen the images, he was captured in Tesco’s on the Caledonian Road.”

'Significant' evidence uncovered in raids executed overnight

Friday 2 February 2024 15:42 , Josh Salisbury

Commander Savell says a large manhunt continues for Ezedi.

Five search warrants were executed overnight, two in east London, three in Newcastle, which has uncovered "significant" evidence, he says.

Mother sedated after akaline attack

Friday 2 February 2024 15:40 , Josh Salisbury

Commander Savell says the mother attacked remains sedated in hospital and has suffered life-changing injuries.

The two young children's injuries are not as serious as first thought, and thankfully they are not likely to be life-changing, he adds.

They remain with their mother in hospital.

Update begins

Friday 2 February 2024 15:38 , Josh Salisbury

Commander Jon Savell has just begun giving an update on the investigation.

Police to issue major update in hunt for suspect

Friday 2 February 2024 15:13 , Josh Salisbury

Police are set to issue a major update on the hunt for Abdul Ezedi, the man suspected of being behind the alkaline attack which left a mother and her two young children injured.

Officers are set to give a briefing outside of Scotland Yard in the next ten minutes.

It comes after dozens of police dressed in hazmat suits raided an address in Leytonstone, where Ezedi was thought to have a connection. No trace of him was found at the address.

Ezedi 'told shopkeeper he wanted to return to Afghanistan to find wife'

Friday 2 February 2024 14:16 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

Staff at a Kurdish grocery shop in the Byker area of Newcastle where attack suspect Abdul Ezedi lived has told The Times he would come in every two weeks to buy half of a halal sheep that he would then cut up and put in his freezer.

They claimed he told people he wanted to return to Afghanistan to find a wife, and described him as “a good Muslim” who did not drink alcohol.

They said Ezedi last visited the shop on Tuesday afternoon, a day before the Clapham attack took place.

The shopkeeper told The Times: “Last time I had a talk with him, I asked him why doesn’t get married, he said, ‘I have no money. I have to go to Afghanistan to get married, to be with one of our people.’

“He said he had to get a wife back home. He said he was always working seven days, it is very hard [to find a wife].”

The shopkeeper said they had never seen Ezedi with a woman.

Wanted man showed no signs of mental health issues or violence – charity worker

Friday 2 February 2024 13:43 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

An asylum support worker who knew wanted man Abdul Ezedi said he was shocked he would be involved in such violence.

The charity worker, based near Newcastle city centre, checked his records and said Ezedi was from Iran, but other reports have suggested he was from Afghanistan.

He also said the 35-year-old, wanted in connection with a horrific corrosive liquid attack in south London, showed no signs of mental health issues or violent behaviour previously.

He said the charity was not aware of Ezedi's criminal record.

The charity worker, who asked not to be named, told the PA news agency: “He has been coming here for more than two years, since I took over the project here."

He said Ezedi visits the centre even few weeks, and last visited around a fortnight ago.

“He seemed a calm person, sitting in the corner by himself, there was never, ever any complaint or any trouble," he said.

“When I saw his photo on the news last night I was shocked, I never expected such a person would be violent to that extent."

He was worried that the outcry about the case would affect other, innocent asylum seekers.

“Unfortunately, there is a stereotype about asylum matters these days," the worker said. “One incident like this can affect a lot of people and have a severe impact on others who are innocent, decent people.

“I would straight away ask him to give himself up, get medical attention and say he has to be held accountable for what he has done.

“Some clients here have mental health issues, they can sometimes react in an aggressive, violent way, but this is someone you would never expect. This is shocking.”

Rishi Sunak: Foreign criminals should not be allowed to stay in UK

Friday 2 February 2024 12:22 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

Rishi Sunak does not think “foreign criminals should be able to stay” in the UK.

The Prime Minister was asked about his views on the matter, following news suspect Abdul Ezedi who is being hunted over Wednesday's chemical attack is a sex offender who was granted asylum to stay in the UK despite his conviction.

The Prime Minister’s spokesman declined to comment on Ezedi's immigration status during the live police investigation but said that, more broadly, “the PM doesn’t think that foreign criminals should be able to stay in the country, putting the public at risk”.

Prime minister Rishi Sunak (PA Wire)
Prime minister Rishi Sunak (PA Wire)

He pointed to action the Government is taking in the Nationality and Borders Act and Illegal Migration Act.

He described the attack as "horrific" and said Mr Sunak's thoughts are with the victims and their families, while thanking emergency services for their response.

Public urged not to approach suspect if seen

Friday 2 February 2024 12:06 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

Scotland Yard has warned people not to approach suspect Abdul Ezedi if he is seen.

Anyone who sees him should call 999.

Police in hazmat suits raid property in east London

Friday 2 February 2024 11:18 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

Dozens of police dressed in gear to protect them from harmful chemicals raided an address in Leytonstone, east London, in the early hours of this morning.

The raid was understood to be linked to hunt for Abdul Ezedi.

It is understood Ezedi had a connection to the area, but after they spent hours trawling the area the convicted sex offender was not found.

The officers were wearing the hazmat suits in case they came into contact with harmful substances.

A large number of police swooped on the area and smashed down doors, a source told the Sun. The fire brigade was also reportedly at the scene.

Ezedi believed to have crashed car before fleeing attack scene on foot

Friday 2 February 2024 11:10 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

Ezedi is said to have tried to drive away from the scene of Wednesday's attack, but crashed into a stationary vehicle and fled on foot in the direction of Clapham Common.

Police believe he travelled down from Newcastle on the day of the attack, but detectives remain unsure of what led to the incident.Distressing footage from the scene shows the attacker throwing one of the two girls injured in the attack - both dressed in school uniform - to the ground "like a ragdoll" before hurling what police called an "alkaline substance" at them and their mother.

For a full timeline of the attack and police hunt, click here.

Mother and daughters injured in attack remain in hospital

Friday 2 February 2024 10:56 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

Wednesday's attack saw a corrosive alkaline substance thrown at a 31-year-old woman, believed to be known to Ezedi.

She and her two daughters, aged just three and eight, were injured in the attack.

The mother was reportedly heard at the scene shouting: "My eyes! My eyes! Help me! I can’t see!"

Eyewitnesses reported seeing her lips turn black and skin strip off her face.

She and her three-year-old daughter sustained potentially life-changing injuries, but are said to be in a stable condition. All three remain in hospital.

Nine other people were also injured in the attack.

Three members of the public who came to the family's aid have discharged from hospital with minor burns. One man is understood to have turned down medical help.

Five Met police officers who responded were also treated at hospital, but have since been discharged.

Ezedi said to have travelled across London immediately after attack

Friday 2 February 2024 10:37 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

Wednesday's corrosive substance attack took place in Lessar Avenue, Clapham, around 7.25pm.

At 8.48pm - just over an hour after the alkali attack - he was captured on CCTV at a Tesco Express about 5.4 miles away, on the Caledonian Road.

Key issue here is violence against women, not asylum seeking, say critics

Friday 2 February 2024 10:33 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

Critics have said any inquisition into the Afghan corrosive attack suspect should focus on violence against women rather than asylum claimants, the vast majority of whom do not commit crimes.

Former immigration minister Robert Jenrick has demanded Home Secretary James Cleverly carries out a “detailed review” of how Ezedi was granted asylum.

On BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mr Jenrick also attacked “well-meaning but naive” vicars who support asylum applicants on religious grounds, after it emerged that Ezedi finally won asylum by saying he was now a Christian and feared persecution in Afghanistan.

But Jacqueline McKenzie, head of immigration and asylum law at solicitors Leigh Day, says she is “quite surprised that the whole debate is framed around the asylum laws” when Britain has a dismal record on acid attacks against women.

She stressed many claims of religious persecution were “absolutely genuine”, noting that the Taliban in Afghanistan apply the death penalty to anyone found guilty of converting out of Islam.

Meanwhile Streatham MP Bell Ribeiro-Addy told the Today programme: “The reasons as to why he was given asylum, we don’t know. But there may have been some serious issues in how the criminal justice system processed the particular issue of his sex offence.

“We know that already in this country an average of two women a week are killed by their partner or former partner. We are living in a society that normalises violence against women and girls.”

Immigration row erupts as Government vows to end asylum 'merry-go-round'

Friday 2 February 2024 10:32 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

The Government has said it is determined to end the “asylum merry-go-round” and could look at toughening up expulsion rules for refugees in light of the Abdul Ezedi case.

Children and Families Minister David Johnston was pressed on why Ezedi was given leave to stay despite two failed asylum applications and a conviction for a sex offence, after he claimed to have converted to Christianity.

The focus for now must be on tracking him down, the minister said when asked on LBC whether asylum claimants convicted of non-custodial offences could be expelled in future.

“But I think the details of what exactly has happened will then be looked at and I think everybody will share that view (on expulsion for shorter sentences) if that turns out to be the case," he said.

“What I do know is the British public have been very frustrated by hearing these sorts of stories over recent years, which is why we’re determined to end the asylum merry-go-round.

“And that’s what the Safety of Rwanda Bill is all about,” he said, insisting the legislation currently enduring a stormy passage through the House of Lords would end “endless” legal appeals by asylum claimants.

Read more here.

Suspect on the run with 'significant' facial injury

Friday 2 February 2024 10:26 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

Below is the last known image of Ezedi.

Suspect Abdul Ezedi was last seen in north London
Suspect Abdul Ezedi was last seen in north London

It was captured on CCTV at a Tesco Express on the Caledonian Road in north London, at 8.48pm on Wednesday.

Ezedi is understood to have bought a bottle of water from the shop, after fleeing the scene of the attack around an hour earlier.

Metropolitan Police Superintendent Gabriel Cameron describes Ezedi as having "significant injuries to the right side of his face".

Police say anyone who sees him should not approach him, and should call 999.

Recap: Suspect Abdul Ezedi granted asylum following sex offence conviction

Friday 2 February 2024 10:07 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

It was revealed last night Abdul Ezedi - the chief suspect in the attack, who is being hunted by police - was granted asylum in the UK despite being a convicted sex offender.

Ezedi, 35, who is reportedly from Afghanistan, was convicted of a sexual offence in 2018 and given a suspended sentence at Newcastle Crown Court.

Suspect Abdul Shokoor Ezedi (Met Police)
Suspect Abdul Shokoor Ezedi (Met Police)

The Crown Prosecution Service has confirmed he was sentenced on January 9 of that year after pleading guilty to one charge of sexual assault and one of exposure.

He was granted asylum after two failed attempts, having reportedly travelled to the UK on a lorry in 2016, it is believed.

Ezedi was allowed to stay in the country after a priest confirmed he had converted to Christianity and was “wholly committed” to his new religion, The Daily Telegraph newspaper reported.

Met 'under huge pressure' to find refugee Ezedi as manhunt grows 'political', says ex-senior officer

Friday 2 February 2024 09:59 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

A former senior Scotland Yard officer has said the force will be “under huge pressure” to find alkaline attack suspect Abdul Ezedi now the case has raised “wider questions around asylum”.

It was revealed yesterday evening that refugee Ezedi, 35, was allowed to stay in the UK despite being a convicted sex offender.

This morning, retired Chief Superintendent Dal Babu said on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “This is fast becoming more of a political story. The police will be under huge pressure to find this person.

“I think there are wider questions around asylum. He claims to have converted to Christianity and I know this will feature in the review of this case.”

Mr Babu said ex-colleagues in several forces from London to Newcastle will be working around the clock deploying resources, looking at phone activity and speaking to the Afghan community for leads in the manhunt.

Read more here.

Good morning, and welcome

Friday 2 February 2024 09:53 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

Hello, and welcome to the Standard's live blog.

We'll be bringing you all the latest updates throughout today as the search for Abdul Shokoor Ezedi continues, following Wednesday evening's chemical attack in Clapham.