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Manhunt continues for alkaline attack suspect

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Manhunt continues for alkaline attack suspect

Police are continuing their search on Friday for the suspect in the alkaline substance attack which left a girl and her mother with potentially life-changing injuries.

Abdul Ezedi, 35, from the Newcastle area, who was described by Metropolitan Police Superintendent Gabriel Cameron as having “significant injuries to the right side of his face”, was last seen at a supermarket in north London on Thursday evening.

The sighting came a day after an attack on a 31-year-old woman, believed to be known to Ezedi, who was with her daughters aged three and eight. They remain in hospital in a stable condition.

It is understood that Ezedi was convicted of a sexual offence in 2018.

It is also understood that he was granted asylum after two failed attempts.

Police released an image of the last-known sighting of Abdul Shokoor Ezedi which places him on Caledonian Road, in Islington, at 8.48pm on Thursday. There had been a heightened police presence, including unmarked cars with blue sirens and police vans, in the area.

Mr Cameron said: “The image is taken from the Tesco store, where Ezedi is believed to have purchased a bottle of water. He left the shop and turned right.

“The image shows Ezedi with what appears to be significant injuries to the right side of his face. This makes him distinctive.

“If you see Ezedi, call 999 immediately. He should not be approached.”

A manhunt is under way for the “dangerous” suspect after he also allegedly threw the younger child to the ground in the attack in Lessar Avenue, near Clapham Common, at about 7.25pm.

In his attempt to drive away from the scene, the attacker crashed into a stationary vehicle and made off on foot.

Earlier, Mr Cameron said the force was working in collaboration with Northumbria Police as Ezedi “could be going back” to Newcastle.

Ezedi is believed to have travelled down from Newcastle on the day of the attack but detectives are unsure what led to the incident.

Mr Cameron said Ezedi may have been known to police previously.

He said: “At this stage I believe he may have been known to police but he’s not a local resident from London as far as I’m aware. He’s come down from Newcastle.”

Mr Cameron added that it was a “horrific crime” against a “vulnerable female”.

The suspect is believed to have used a corrosive alkaline substance but the officer said he did not know if it was a household product that was used.

Products such as bleach and oven cleaner are alkaline substances.

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

The force said five officers who responded to the incident were also treated and have now left hospital.

One witness to the attack, bus driver Shannon Christi, told the PA news agency she was affected by the substance while trying to help the woman and two children outside her home.

She said: “I heard a bang and I heard someone saying ‘help’.

“I run outside and as I run outside I’ve seen this guy throwing a child on the floor, he picked her up and threw her again.

“So at that point I ran in and I grabbed her and took her into my block.”

Ms Christi said the three-year-old girl was crying and did not give her name while the older child stood outside her block of flats and was also in tears.

She added: “I’ve then seen her mum walking up the road again saying ‘I can’t see, I can’t see’.

“I shouted for my partner and he had run down the road trying to chase the man.”

Ms Christi said she went to wash her own arms and face after staff at the Clapham South Belvedere Hotel took the child inside.

She continued: “I’ve done that but my lips were still tingling, kept burning, kept tingling, so I sat in the ambulance for a bit and then they took me to hospital.

“It all happened so fast.”

As well as the 11 people taken to hospital, a man in his 50s, who also helped, declined hospital treatment for minor injuries, police said.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley described the incident as a “ghastly attack”.

He told the BBC: “Fortunately, attacks using acid and chemicals are exceedingly rare. We did have a spate of them two or three years ago, you might remember.

“It’s not something we’ve seen much of at all recently, I’m pleased to say.”

Home Secretary James Cleverly, who described the attack as “appalling”, said: “My thoughts are with them (the victims) and the brave members of the public and police who intervened.

“I urge the public to support the Metropolitan Police’s appeal and to come forward if they have any information.”

Police in England and Wales recorded 472 violent and robbery offences involving a corrosive substance in the year to March 2023, the latest available figures from the Office for National Statistics show.

There were 525 recorded in the previous 12-month period.

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