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Abdul Shokoor Ezedi: Clapham attack suspect still at large amid fears fugitive is being hidden by criminals

Abdul Shokoor Ezedi: Clapham attack suspect still at large amid fears fugitive is being hidden by criminals

The manhunt for chemical attack fugitive Abdul Shokoor Ezedi entered its fifth day on Monday with a £20,000 reward being offered amid fears he is receiving help to evade capture.

Metropolitan Police officers have been searching for the 35-year-old since a mother doused with a corrosive alkaline substance suffered potentially life-changing injuries while her daughters, aged three and eight, were also hurt in Clapham, south London.

The 31-year-old woman, known to Afghan refugee Ezedi, remains in hospital in a critical but stable condition.

Detectives released CCTV showing he also suffered injuries to his face shortly after the attack last Wednesday night.

Investigators fear there are people who know Ezedi’s whereabouts and have not come forward.

Anyone harbouring or assisting him faces arrest, Commander Jon Savell said.

Convicted sex offender Ezedi was granted asylum after converting to Christianity sparking a fierce political debate.

A CCTV image of Abdul Ezedi at a Tesco in Caledonian Road, north London (Metropolitan Police/PA) (PA Wire)
A CCTV image of Abdul Ezedi at a Tesco in Caledonian Road, north London (Metropolitan Police/PA) (PA Wire)

The Daily Telegraph reported 40 out of 300 asylum seekers on the Bibby Stockholm barge in Portland, Dorset, are claiming to have changed their religion on that basis in order to stay in the country, according to a church elder David Rees.

Home Secretary James Cleverly is expected to consider whether legal changes are needed to ensure tighter scrutiny of conversion claims and to enable the automatic deportation of convicted foreign criminals like Ezedi.

Cabinet minister Chris Heaton-Harris insisted Ezedi would have been detained and deported if the Government’s Nationality and Borders Bill had been in place.

The hunt for Ezedi is being supported by the UK Border Force, National Crime Agency and visa and immigration staff. All ports are on the lookout.

It is feared he could be trying to use people-smuggling contacts he made when entering the UK illegally on the back of a lorry in 2016 to get him out of the country.

A trawl of CCTV in London is being carried out using facial recognition technology.

Nick Aldworth, a former national counter-terrorism co-ordinator, suggested Ezedi, from Newcastle, could have taken his own life or be using an ally as there had been no further sightings since he exited at Tower Hill Tube station in east London at 9.16pm on Wednesday, shortly after the attack.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I think if we’ve not seen or heard from him in the last couple of days, which appears to be the case, he’s gone to ground, possibly supported by somebody… or it’s not unlikely or improbable that he may have taken his own life. There is therefore a body to be found somewhere.

“The reason they’ve offered a £20,000 reward is usually because there’s a sense that somebody inside the community might well be harbouring this individual.”