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What we know about Clapham chemical attack as death of suspect Abdul Ezedi is confirmed

Police have confirmed a body found in the Thames is that of Abdul Ezedi

The body recovered from the River Thames on Monday has been formally identified as Abdul Ezedi, with police confirming his cause of death was drowning.

He was formally identified on Thursday and his family have been informed, the Metropolitan Police said.

The force had previously said on 3 February that their main working hypothesis was that Ezedi, 35, went into the river, having last been spotted on CCTV crossing Chelsea Bridge after becoming the centre of a high-profile manhunt.

Investigators have been searching for Ezedi, 35, since 31 January, when a 31-year-old woman and her two daughters, aged eight and three, were attacked in Clapham, south-west London. At the time fears were raised that the mother, who had been in a relationship with Ezedi, may lose sight in her right eye as a result of the alkali attack.

In an update on 20 February, Scotland Yard added that the condition of the woman had “improved” and she remains in hospital in a stable condition and is no longer sedated. However, Commander Jon Savell added: "We have still not been able to speak to her but hope to as soon as she is well enough."

EDITORS NOTE IMAGE REDACTED AT SOURCE

Undated family handout photo taken with permission from GoFundMe of the mother and two daughters who were the victims of a corrosive chemical attack in south London on January 31. A major manhunt is under way for suspect Abdul Ezedi, 35, who is accused of pouring a strong alkali on his ex-partner, and injuring her two young children, aged three and eight.  Issue date: Thursday February 8, 2024. PA Photo. See PA story POLICE Corrosive. Photo credit should read: Family handout/GoFundMe/PA Wire 

NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.
A redacted photo on the GoFundMe page set up for the mother and children who were injured in a corrosive chemical attack in Clapham, south London. (GoFundMe/PA)

Authorities previously offered a £20,000 reward for any information leading to Ezedi's arrest and said they suspected there are people who know of his whereabouts but are not coming forward.

Here are the key details about the incident itself and the days that followed.

What we know

The incident happened at around 7.25pm on Wednesday 31 January on Lessar Avenue near Clapham Common and involved an alkaline substance.

In CCTV footage appearing to show the attack unfolding, one person can be seen being hit by a white car and a younger-looking person is seemingly thrown to the ground. Police can then be seen on camera coming to the aid of victims.

Police have urged people to avoid and report any sightings of 35-year-old Abdul Shakoor Ezedi
Police have urged people to avoid and report any sightings of 35-year-old Abdul Shakoor Ezedi. (Met Police)
Handout CCTV image dated 31/01/24 issued by the Metropolitan Police of Abdul Ezedi, the suspect in the Clapham alkaline substance attack, at at Tesco in Caledonian Road, north London. The Metropolitan Police said the substance used in the alkali attack in Clapham, south London, on Wednesday was a
Abdul Ezedi at Tesco in Caledonian Road, north London. (Met Police/PA)

Nine others, including five police and eyewitnesses who ran to help, were also injured but have since been released from hospital. Police said in his attempt to drive away from the scene, the attacker crashed into a stationary vehicle and fled on foot.

A major manhunt was launched for the suspect. The last confirmed sighting was just before 11.30pm on 31 January, a few hours after the attack, as he crossed over Chelsea Bridge and entered Battersea Park, then crossed back over the same bridge - which is on the River Thames - minutes later.

He was initially travelling around on the Tube network using his bank card and, after that, appears to have been walking a route that broadly hugged the Thames.

Members of the Metropolitan Police Marine Policing Unit pass near to Chelsea Bridge where they are due to search in relation to alkali attack suspect Abdul Ezedi, who is believed to have
The Metropolitan Police Marine Policing Unit passes near Chelsea Bridge. (PA)
Abdul Ezedi's last-known movements. See story POLICE Corrosive. Infographic PA Graphics. An editable version of this graphic is available if required. Please contact graphics@pamediagroup.com
Abdul Ezedi's last-known movements. (PA)

Police believe Ezedi left Newcastle for London in the early hours of the morning. At 6.30am he was spotted in the Tooting area and there was a further sighting of his vehicle in Croydon at 4.30pm. At 7pm, he was seen in Streatham ahead of the attack some 25 minutes later. Police said he was seen again at 8pm at King’s Cross station.

An image of the suspect outside a Tesco store at 8.45pm showed him wearing a blue T-shirt and dark-coloured jacket with what appears to be significant facial injury. He was spotted at 9pm at Victoria station, where the suspect got on a Tube heading south. The last recorded sighting of him was at 11.27pm on Chelsea Bridge.

On 1 February, it emerged Ezedi was convicted of sexual offences in 2018 and given a suspended sentence. The Crown Prosecution Service confirmed he was sentenced on 9 January of that year after pleading guilty to one charge of sexual assault and one of exposure.

Abdul Ezedi at King's Cross Underground Station. (Met Police)
Abdul Ezedi at King's Cross Underground Station. (Met Police)
Police at the scene in Lessar Avenue near Clapham Common, south London, where a woman and her two young children have been taken to hospital after a man threw a suspected corrosive substance on Wednesday evening. Three other members of the public were also taken to hospital with injuries thought to have been suffered as they came to the aid of the woman and her children. Picture date: Thursday February 1, 2024.
A white car lies abandoned on Lessar Avenue near Clapham Common following the attack. (PA)

Ezedi was put on the sex offenders register for 10 years. He was granted asylum in 2021 or 2022 after two failed attempts.

On 5 February, detectives arrested and bailed a 22-year-old man on suspicion of assisting an offender.

Armed police also executed two raids at addresses in Newcastle in the early hours of 8 February as part of a joint operation between the Met and Northumbria Police. No arrests have been made following the raids, which included one at Ezedi's place of work.

What we don’t know

The identities of the victims have yet to be released by authorities. The woman remains sedated in hospital and is still too ill to talk to police, as of 23 February. There is a possibility she may lose sight in her right eye.

In an earlier press conference, Met Police Commander Jon Savell said the two girls were not as badly injured as first thought, but the details of their wounds are still not clear. Police have so far yet to determine what the attacker's motive was.

The suspect is believed to have used a corrosive alkaline substance. We don't know if it was a household product like bleach or oven cleaner. Savell said analysis of the substance showed it was highly corrosive.

It is not clear what happened in the run-up to the alleged attack either and whether Ezedi followed the family or knew where they would be at a specific time of day.

Details of Ezedi's asylum claim also remain unclear. Ezedi came to the UK hidden in a lorry in 2016, and was turned down twice for asylum before successfully appealing against the Home Office rejection by claiming he had converted to Christianity.