Detectives believe Ezedi may have gone into the river after being seen on CCTV leaning over the railings of Chelsea Bridge
: PETER MACDIARMID/LNP
Specialist police diving teams have begun searching the River Thames for Abdul Ezedi, the suspected Clapham chemical attacker.
A police boat was seen circling between Vauxhall and Chelsea bridges on Saturday morning.
Detectives believe that Ezedi, 35, may have jumped into the river after being seen on CCTV leaning over the railings of Chelsea Bridge in west London.
Hours earlier Ezedi is said to have hurled a strong alkali at his former partner, and injured her two young children, aged three and eight.
The attack, on January 31, prompted a nationwide manhunt leading to raids in Ezedi’s home city of Newcastle, as well as premises in the capital.
The woman had been in a relationship with Ezedi, but they were understood to have split up.
The Metropolitan Police is now working on the hypothesis the Afghan man may have leapt into the River Thames to try to take his own life.
‘He may never surface’
Commander Jon Savell said: “We have spent the last 24 hours meticulously following the CCTV, and it’s our main working hypothesis that he’s now gone into the water.
“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.”
Asked whether police were willing to say that Ezedi was dead, Det Supt Rick Sewart said: “I’m prepared to say that he’s gone into the water and if he’s gone into the water then that’s the most probable outcome.”
Mr Savell confirmed the woman remained in a “critical but stable condition” in hospital and was still “very poorly and unable to speak” to police.
He said it was possible they may never find Ezedi’s body due to the speed of the current in the Thames.
He told a briefing at Scotland Yard: “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 Met had tracked Ezedi’s movements from the Tower Hill area, where he had walked more than four miles “with purpose” to Chelsea Bridge.
Mr Sewart added: “When he has 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 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.”
Ezedi’s injuries fatal if untreated
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