Everything we know about the search for the Clapham attacker

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Watch: The hunt to catch suspect on run after dousing woman and her two daughters with chemical

By Thomas Mackintosh
BBC News

Three of the UK’s biggest police forces are at the core of a nationwide hunt for a man accused of an alkali attack on a mother and two young girls in south London on Wednesday.

Police have warned that Abdul Shokoor Ezedi should not be approached and anyone who sees him should call 999.

The BBC has been piecing together what is known so far.

What happened in Clapham?

The Metropolitan Police launched an investigation at 22:00 GMT on Wednesday after several people were injured by a “corrosive substance”.

Initial details said a 31-year-old woman and her two young girls – aged three and eight – were seriously hurt after the substance was thrown at them on Lessar Avenue, near Clapham Common, at 19:25.

Residents who heard a “crash” and a “cry for help” rushed to help and described hearing the woman scream “I can’t see. I can’t see”.

A couple told the BBC they grabbed water from their home and tried to help.

One woman got some of the liquid on her face and had to be taken to hospital.

Five Met Police officers were also injured as they responded, as were four other members of the public who tried to help.

Three women and a man attempted to stop the attacker as he fled the scene – initially in a car, but he collided with a parked vehicle and then ran on foot towards Clapham Common.

A man was seen fleeing the scene and a police helicopter was used on Wednesday night to search for him.

Where is the Clapham attack suspect?

On Thursday morning police named the suspect as 35-year-old Abdul Shokoor Ezedi. He is believed to live in Newcastle and travelled down from the north east on Wednesday.

As the investigation progressed on Thursday, the Met Police released a fresh image of Ezedi’s last known sighting – around 70 minutes after the attack in Clapham.

Police said Ezedi was last seen inside a Tesco Express on Caledonian Road, Islington, at 20:48 – about 5.4 miles (8.7 km) away from Lessar Avenue.

He is believed to have bought a bottle of water before leaving the shop and turning right on Caledonian Road.

The Met Police issued an image of him that showed “significant injuries” to the right side of his face.

“This makes him distinctive,” Supt Gabriel Cameron said.

This image, captured about 70 minutes after the attack, shows the suspect at a Tesco Express in north London

The BBC understands that Ezedi is originally from Afghanistan, and arrived in the UK by lorry in 2016,

He was convicted at Newcastle Crown Court in 2018 of “sexual assault/exposure” and as part of his sentence was given an unpaid work order.

Once that was completed in 2020, Ezedi was discharged from probation supervision.

Ezedi’s asylum application was twice turned down, but granted on the third occasion, in 2021 or 2022, when he said he had converted to Christianity.

Detectives believe he is known to the family injured in Clapham, but said they were not yet clear on their exact relationship.

Abdul Shakoor Ezedi, 35, was last seen in Caledonian Road, north London, and police have warned the public not to approach him.

Are the Clapham attack victims still in hospital?

So far we know 12 people in total were injured in Wednesday’s attack.

The woman and her two young daughters who were at the centre of the attack remain in hospital, according to the Met Police.

Met Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley told BBC Radio London some of the victim’s burns “substantial”.

His force said that while none of their conditions were life-threatening, the injuries to the woman and the three-year-old girl could be life-changing.

It added it may be some time before hospital staff are able to say how serious they might be.

The five responding police officers who were injured were taken hospital and later discharged.

Three women – two in their 30s and one in her 50s – were injured when they came to the aid of the family. They have also been discharged from hospital with minor burns injuries, the Met said.

A man in his 50s who also helped declined hospital treatment for minor injuries.

‘Suspected offender known to the victims’ – Met Police commissioner

How will police try to track down the Clapham suspect?

Ezedi’s whereabouts and movements after the sighting in Islington Tesco are unknown.

On Thursday night there was a heightened police presence in that area. It is close to London King’s Cross, the station for trains to Newcastle.

There is also an increased presence around the Byker area of Newcastle – where Ezedi is believed to live.

Officers have also asked local residents and drivers in and around Clapham to check doorbell and dash cameras to see if they captured a man fleeing the area.

The Clapham South Belvedere hotel, which is metres away, confirmed that its guests were victims of the attack

The former chief constable of Northumbria Police, who organised the hunt for murderer Raoul Moat in July 2010, said she had “23 different forces” working with her.

Sue Sim told BBC Radio 5 Live: “When British policing works together, there is nothing better than that for catching criminality.

“British Transport Police (BTP) will be involved, Northumbria Police… because that is where he [Ezedi] is known to live.

“There will be information sent around to all forces with officers being urged on their daily briefings to keep an eye open for this man.

“Officers will be trawling through all the CCTV in any of the stations, in the area; checking up on any relatives and friends and making sure they track this man.”

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