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Abdul Ezedi: Clapham attack suspect 'likely dead after going into Thames', police believe

Detectives believe that the Clapham chemical attack suspect likely went into the water off Chelsea Bridge and drowned in the Thames.

Afghan refugee Abdul Ezedi has not been seen since the night he allegedly hurled a toxic substance at a mother with her two children.

The CCTV of the last known sighting shows him close to the bridge at just before 11.30pm last Wednesday before he is seen “leaning over railings” on Chelsea Bridge.

The Metropolitan Police revealed on Friday that their “main working hypothesis” is that he has "gone into the water", although no body has yet been found.

Scotland Yard, Commander Jon Savell said: "We have spent the last 24 hours meticulously following the CCTV.

"We have looked at all of the available cameras and angles, and with the assistance of Transport for London and CCTV from buses that were travelling over the bridge at the relevant time and there is no sighting of him coming off the bridge."

Detective Superintendent Rick Sewart revealed Ezedi was seen to “lean over the railings” of Chelsea Bridge before CCTV sightings of him ceased.

He told a briefing: “We’ve tracked Ezedi’s movements from the Tower Hill area where he alighted the underground and he’s walked over four miles to the location of Chelsea Bridge.

“He’s walked with purpose, but has essentially hugged the Thames River line.

“When he has got to the area of Chelsea Bridge, his behaviour visibly appears to change in so much as he walked up and down the bridge – he pauses in the midpoint of the bridge, halfway down the bridge.

“Then he walked to and from the side of the bridge and can be seen to sort of lean over the railings before there is a loss of sight.”

Mr Sewart added that this was consistent with “him going into the water”.

A source earlier told the Sun: “The investigation team believe Ezedi died soon after the last sighting of him on camera on the north side of the river.”

CCTV footage of Abdul Ezedi, bottom right, crossing over Chelsea Bridge
CCTV footage of Abdul Ezedi, bottom right, crossing over Chelsea Bridge

The 35-year-old crossed over the bridge twice, first walking south and entering Battersea Park at 11.25pm.

Two minutes later he was seen again on camera heading back to the north side of Chelsea Bridge.

It is suspected he threw himself into the fast flowing river where bodies are difficult to locate. Marine units will search the river for his body.

Mr Savell added: “At this time of year, the Thames is very fast flowing, very wide and full of lots of snags.

"It is quite likely that if he has gone in the water, he won't appear for maybe up to a month and it's not beyond possibility that he may never actually surface."

The officer said he does not believe Ezedi was helped by friends during his four-mile journey running from police.

Commander Savell also revealed a behavioural scientist at the National Crime Agency (NCA), studied the last movements of Ezedi along the river.

He told the Met that Ezedi committed a horrific attack and it is possible he could have taken his life as a consequence.Commander Savell said: “We are in contact with a member of his family as we speak, it will be devastating news, they will learn what he has done.”

A CCTV image of Abdul Ezedi at King’s Cross underground station (Metropolitan Police/PA) (PA Wire)
A CCTV image of Abdul Ezedi at King’s Cross underground station (Metropolitan Police/PA) (PA Wire)

Ezedi suffered a serious injury to the right side of the face during the attack at 7.25pm in Lessar Road last Wednesday.

He arranged to meet the 31-year-old woman after a relationship between the pair ended.

He had driven to London from his Newcastle home in a white Hyundai car on the same day. He is accused of throwing an alkaline substance in her face, causing injuries that may mean she loses the sight in one eye. She remains “very poorly and unable to speak to police”.

Both children, aged eight and three, who were also injured in the attack have been discharged.Bystanders who jumped in to help the family were also injured.

A huge police manhunt was launched for Ezedi fled on foot and took the Tube from Clapham South to King’s Cross, North London after ditching his car which he had ploughed into a parked vehicle near the crime scene.

He then took the Tube at King’s Cross station, after buying a bottle of water at a nearby Tesco, and got off at Tower Hill.

Counter terror officers, drafted in because of their expertise in tracing suspects, trawled through CCTV and picked up his trail.

Images showed him walking west by Southwark Bridge and on to Blackfriars where he was seen outside a Unilever building at 10.04pm.

Ezedi (Met)
Ezedi (Met)

He carried on walking west, his route hugging the Thames and he passed near New Scotland Yard before crossing over Westminster Bridge.

They then found footage 59 minutes later from CCTV on the north side of Vauxhall Bridge.

From there he continued walking west to Chelsea Bridge where he is believed to have plunged into the cold, tidal waters.

Commander Savell had said at a briefing on Wednesday that the Thames jump theory was an active line of inquiry.

He said: “It is a possibility he has gone into the Thames.

“Sadly, we recover people from the Thames and it takes a while for it to happen.

A still from CCTV footage of Abdul Ezedi on Upper Thames Street (Metropolitan Police/PA) (PA Media)
A still from CCTV footage of Abdul Ezedi on Upper Thames Street (Metropolitan Police/PA) (PA Media)

“It is a very fast-flowing body of water. Nobody has seen anyone going into the Thames and no bodies have been recovered.”

He added that police were considering whether Ezedi ended up in the river “either deliberately or accidentally.”

The mother remains in a “critical but stable” condition in hospital.

Her young daughters were also injured in the attack and are making progress.

Witnessed described how her three-year-old had been thrown to the ground “like a ragdoll”.

Both her and her eight year-old sister are said to be recovering well.

Armed police have raided address in Newcastle, including the pizza restaurant where he had worked.

A 22-year-old man was arrested in London on suspicion of offending an offender and has been bailed.

More than 100 officers have been involved in the manhunt while detectives received 500 calls from the public.

Timeline of Ezedi’s movements

The Met Police has released a timeline of Ezedi's last known locations

00:15 – Ezedi’s vehicle is seen in Newcastle 06:30 – His vehicle is then seen traveling into Tooting, London 16:30 – A further sighting of his vehicle is confirmed in Croydon 19:00 – He is then seen driving in Streatham 19:25 – Attack takes place in Lessar Avenue, SW4, before Ezedi makes off in his vehicle which crashes nearby. He leaves the car and runs off. 19:33 – Ezedi boards a train at Clapham South Tube Station. 19:59 – He is then seen leaving that train at King’s Cross Tube Station. 20:42 – He is then seen on CCTV leaving Tesco at 21 Caledonian Rd, London N1 9DX. He exits and turns right. 21:00 - Ezedi enters King’s Cross Tube Station and boards a Victoria Line tube southbound. 21:10 – He gets off at Victoria Tube Station and heads towards the district line. 21:16 – Ezedi boards an eastbound District Line train. 21:33 – Ezedi exits Tower Hill Tube Station. 21:47 - He is seen on Allhallows Lane, EC3. He travels through a passage to Cousin Lane. Then he turns right, walking towards Upper Thames Street. 21:51 - He then turns left onto Upper Thames Street 21:54 – He travels along Upper Thames Street 21:59 – Ezedi passes the City of London School on Pauls Walk EC4, heading towards Blackfriars Bridge. He passes the riverboat pier. 22:04 – He then passes the Unilever building and heads towards Victoria Embankment. 22:06 – Ezedi passes Carmelite House, junction with Carmelite Street towards Temple.22:28 - He passes Westminster Pier, goes up steps and continues towards Westminster.22:33 - Ezedi seen walking south on Westminster bridge (footage released Wednesday) 22:36 – He walks across Westminster Bridge, down steps on the London Eye side towards Lambeth 22:42 – Ezedi seen walking west on south Thames Path towards Lambeth Bridge 22:55 – He travels along the Albert Embankment approaching Vauxhall Bridge (image released Wednesday) 23:00 – Ezedi crosses Vauxhall Bridge towards stairs (Houses of Parliament side of the river) 23:03 - He crosses Vauxhall Bridge Road, into Grosvenor Road. 23:10 – Ezedi walks west bound past the Shell petrol station 23:19 - He passes the Thames Water Building, Grosvenor Road, heading towards Chelsea Bridge 23:25 – He crosses over Chelsea Bridge and enters Battersea Park. (image released Thursday) 23:27 - He crosses back over Chelsea Bridge towards the north side.