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Clapham chemical attack suspect ‘likely to have died in Thames’

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Published Time: 09.02.2024 - 23:40:13 Modified Time: 09.02.2024 - 23:40:13

It is now believed Abdul Ezedi went into river from Chelsea Bridge, where CCTV footage showed him peering over railings The suspect in the Clapham chemical attack is likely to have drowned in the River Thames after falling from Chelsea Bridge, police believe

It is now believed Abdul Ezedi went into river from Chelsea Bridge, where CCTV footage showed him peering over railings

The suspect in the Clapham chemical attack is likely to have drowned in the River Thames after falling from Chelsea Bridge, police believe. 

Abdul Ezedi, an Afghan asylum seeker, had been on the run after allegedly dousing a 31-year-old woman and her two children, aged three and eight, with an alkali substance in south-west London last Wednesday. 

The the 35-year-old, who suffered significant facial injuries in the attack, was last seen on CCTV peering over the railings of Chelsea Bridge at just before 11.30pm that day. On Friday, police confirmed that there had been no further sightings since, and said Ezedi was not seen walking off the bridge.

A nationwide manhunt was launched after Ezedi, a convicted sex offender, allegedly attacked the woman, with whom he had been in a relationship.

On Monday, a 22-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender, and police raided two Newcastle addresses linked to Ezedi in the early hours of Thursday.

After officers from the counter-terrorism fugitive team spent hundreds of hours trawling CCTV footage, detectives were able to confirm that Ezedi never left London and was likely to have died on the night of the attack.

Immediately after the attack, which took place on Lessar Avenue at 7.25pm, Ezedi fled into the Tube network, travelling to King’s Cross, where he purchased a bottle of water at a Tesco.

From there, he got a Victoria Line Tube southbound to Victoria. He then boarded a District Line train eastbound at 9.16pm before emerging at Tower Hill station.

Detective Superintendent Rick Sewart said Ezedi had walked with purpose after leaving the station and had “essentially hugged the river”.

He added: “When he got to the area of Chelsea Bridge, his behaviour visibly appears to change in so much as he walks up and down the bridge, he pauses in the mid-point of the bridge, and he walks sort of to and from the side of the bridge and can be seen to lean over the railings before there is a loss of sight.”

Officers tracked Ezedi using CCTV for four hours around the Tube network, and for four miles as he walked along the Thames.

DSI Sewart said a behavioural scientist, commissioned through the National Crime Agency, had analysed Ezedi’s manner shortly before he was last seen, and detectives were confident that he had entered the water from the bridge.

Commander Jon Savell said it was possible that Ezedi’s body may never be found, adding: “At this time of year, the Thames is very fast-flowing, very wide and full of lots of snags.

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