Police using all resources in hunt for Clapham suspect Abdul Shokoor Ezedi, minister says

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Abdul Shokoor Ezedi, 35, has not been seen since Wednesday

Officers are using “all the resources at their disposal” to find Clapham corrosive liquid attack suspect Abdul Shokoor Ezedi, the policing minister has told BBC News.

Chris Philp warned “nobody should be harbouring this man or offering him any kind of protection”.

It comes as the manhunt for the 35-year-old suspected of hurting a mother and two girls reaches its sixth day.

A £20,000 reward is in place for information leading to his arrest.

The 31-year-old mother who remains sedated in hospital may lose her sight in her right eye following the attack on Wednesday, police said on Monday.

As the search involving hundreds of officers continues, counter-terrorism officers have been drafted in to help scour hundreds of hours of CCTV.

Mr Philp urged anyone with information to contact police immediately.

He said: “Obviously he himself has disfigured his face. He’s very recognisable.”

The minister’s comments come after a man was arrested on Monday on suspicion of assisting an offender.

The 22-year-old arrested in London has since been bailed.

Police have released a CCTV image of Ezedi leaving Tower Hill tube station

The Metropolitan Police said the most recent sighting of Ezedi was at about 21:50 GMT near Southwark Bridge on Wednesday, but there is no suggestion he jumped in the River Thames.

Police have two main hypotheses about Ezedi’s whereabouts: that he has come to some harm; or that someone is looking after him.

Detectives are trawling through hundreds of hours of CCTV from Transport for Londonand tracked Ezedi’s movements on the Tube network via his bank card, which was last used on Wednesday, police said.

They are also chasing up leads received from hundreds of people who have contacted police.

Police believe Ezedi, who is from the Newcastle area but believed to have travelled to the UK on a lorry from Afghanistan in 2016, is not the father of the children, aged eight and three, injured in the attack and was in the capital visiting the mother.

Officers are trying to establish how long Ezedi and the woman have known each other and what sort of relationship they had.

Ezedi travelled to London from Newcastle in the early hours of Wednesday before the attack happened outside a Clapham hotel in Lessar Avenue at 19:25.

The mother and two girls were hurt after the substance was thrown at them.

Ezedi then attempted to drive away from the scene, crashing into a stationary vehicle and fleeing on foot.

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

The suspect was then picked up on CCTV at a Tesco shop in Caledonian Road, Islington, north London, at 20:38.

At 21:00, he was seen on camera entering King’s Cross underground station and boarding a southbound Victoria line train.

He arrived at Victoria Station in central London at 21:10 and changed trains to travel eastbound on the District line at 21:16, police said.

Ezedi was seen leaving Tower Hill underground station a few minutes later. The latest sighting shows him walking on Allhallows Lane, in the Southwark Bridge area, at 21:47.

The BBC has confirmed Ezedi was convicted of a sexual offence in 2018.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said he was sentenced on 9 January 2018 after pleading guilty to one charge of sexual assault and one of exposure.

He was given a suspended sentence at Newcastle Crown Court and put on the Sex Offenders Register for 10 years.

Ezedi was later granted asylum after two failed attempts. He was allowed to stay in the country after a priest confirmed he had converted to Christianity.

The Catholic Church covering the North East of England has previously confirmed Ezedi was a client of a charitable project it ran which “assists a wide range of people who come to us in need”.

In an update on Monday, the same church organisation said: “After checking local parish records and central records and after consulting with clergy we have no indication that Abdul Ezedi was received into the Catholic faith in this diocese or that a Catholic priest of this diocese gave him a reference.

“We do not know which Christian church received him nor which Christian minister gave him a reference.”

Speaking to reporters on Monday, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak would not be drawn on whether immigration laws should be changed after reports claiming religious conversions may be being used to bolster asylum applications.

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