Mother doused with corrosive chemical may lose sight in right eye, police say

The mother doused with a corrosive liquid in a horror attack in south London may lose the sight in her right eye, police have said.

A massive manhunt for suspect Abdul Ezedi is under way after the 31-year-old woman and her two daughters aged three and eight were hurt in Clapham last Wednesday.

Police now say the most recent sighting of Ezedi was at about 9.50pm on Wednesday near Southwark Bridge, but there is no suggestion that he jumped in the Thames.

Commander Jon Savell said investigators are keeping an open mind as to where he may be or what may have happened to him.

Clapham Common incident
Police at the scene in Lessar Avenue near Clapham Common, south London (James Weech/PA)

They tracked his movements around the Tube network using his bank card, but it has not been used since Wednesday.

Ezedi, who is from Newcastle, is not the father of the children in the attack and was in the capital visiting the victim, police believe.

They still do not yet know why he meted out such extreme violence on the young family.

Counter-terrorism officers have been drafted in to help scour hundreds of hours of CCTV in the search for the 35-year-old.

Detectives are working on the premise that he is either being hidden by someone or has come to harm.

Ezedi does not have his phone with him, which makes the search more challenging, officers said. It has been recovered and analysed by police.

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

Clapham Common incident
Ezedi has serious facial injuries, as shown in CCTV images released by the police (Metropolitan Police/PA)

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

The manhunt entered its fifth day on Monday, with a £20,000 reward in place for anyone with information leading to Ezedi’s arrest.

More than 200 calls have been received from members of the public with potential sightings, but they have since been discounted.

The Met has warned anyone found assisting him will face arrest.

Questions have been raised over Ezedi having been granted asylum in the UK after two failed attempts.

Ezedi successfully challenged the Home Office’s decision to refuse him asylum in 2020 and was permitted to stay in the country after a priest confirmed he had converted to Christianity and was reportedly “wholly committed” to his new religion.

He was convicted of sex offences in 2018 but was allowed to remain in the UK because the sentence was not severe enough to reach the threshold for deportation.

Foreign national offenders currently only qualify for deportation if they are sentenced to – or have served – an immediate custodial sentence of 12 months or more under Home Office rules.

POLICE Corrosive
(PA Graphics)

The Government has already taken action to stop people trying to “game the system”, Downing Street said, but was unable to comment further on a live police investigation.

Police said Ezedi left Newcastle in the early hours of Wednesday and travelled south to London, and was in the Tooting area by around 6.30am.

His vehicle was seen again in Croydon, south London, at around 4.30pm and by around 7pm he was in Streatham.

Ezedi allegedly threw the younger child to the ground during the attack at 7.25pm before attempting to drive away from the scene, crashing into a stationary vehicle and fleeing on foot.

Minutes later he boarded a Tube train at Clapham South Underground station and by 8pm he was at King’s Cross Tube station.

He was caught on CCTV at 9.33pm at Tower Hill Underground station in east London, and later near Southwark Bridge at 9.50pm.

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