Published On: Wed, Feb 7th, 2024
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Clapham chemical attacker suspect’s friends speak out about offences | UK | News

Chemical attack suspect Abdul Ezedi flashed at a terrified woman who was walking alone to a Newcastle bus stop and grabbed the bottom of another as he waited to find out if he had been granted asylum to live in the UK.

Both offences, for which Afghan-born Ezedi was convicted, occurred in 2017 – just a few months after he illegally snuck into Britain hidden in a lorry.

He escaped with suspended jail sentences when sentenced in 2019 and went on to successfully claim asylum at the third attempt after a priest told a Judge he had converted to Christianity and  was “wholly committed” to his new religion.

It is understood the priest in question was not Roman Catholic or from the Church of England.

Yesterday police revealed a new CCTV sightings of the suspect had been picked up following “painstaking work” by the counter terrorism officers scouring thousands of hours of CCTV.

The new information places Ezedi walking along Upper Thames Street at 9.54pm then heading towards Blackfriars Bridge.

Then at 10.04pm he passes the Unilever building and heads towards Victoria Embankment.

Today marks the week anniversary of the alkali attack in Clapham that left a 31-year-old woman nursing severe burns that are likely to leave her permanently blind in her right eye, and two young children hospitalised.

Police believe Ezedi is either being assisted or has died – possibly after jumping into the River Thames in the hours that followed the woman and her two daughters – aged three and eight – being “targeted” by a man hurling the highly corrosive liquid at them outside a hotel near Clapham Common. He is not the children’s father but is believed to have been visiting his victim when violence flared.

The attacker was also seen picking up the younger girl and repeatedly throwing her to the pavement before fleeing on foot after crashing his car.

Prime suspect Ezedi, who had driven 280 miles from his Newcastle home earlier, dropped his phone in Clapham so police have no way of tracking his movements other than by CCTV.

Some senior investigators believe the lack of sightings since Wednesday night means the fugitive may no longer be alive.

But Commander Jon Savell yesterday insisted it “remains our belief that he is being helped by others” and the police probe will continue to “target more of Ezedi’s associates”.

Officers arrested a man aged 22 on suspicion of assisting an offender on Monday and later released him on bail.

But they said there is no evidence to suggest Ezedi had made advance preparations to go on the run.

More than 100 officers are now “dedicated” to the investigation and the Met being supported by dozens of officers from forces across the UK, alongside  the National Crime Agency, the Home Office, UK Border Force and UK Visas and Immigration.

A £20,000 police bounty is also in place.

Yesterday a man who befriended Ezedi when they worked in a pizza shop on Tyneside, recalled his shock when the “devout Muslim” was snared as a sex pest.

He said: “It was so out of character, we were so shocked to discover what he had done to the two women.

“One was a sexual assault and after that he exposed himself to a woman who was on her way to catch a bus.”

The friend told how Ezedi spent little and sent all the money he earned back home – but that sparked an armed raid on his family home, during which his sister was shot dead.

The friend added: “His family fought back to defend their home and he told me that his sister was shot dead. He was so upset and very, very, angry. He said that he would take revenge on the people who had done that to her.

“When I heard what happened in London that came into my mind.”

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