The search for a suspected chemical attacker has entered its third day as a close relative of Abdul Ezedi told Sky News he would hand him over to the police if he could. Police have urged the 35-year-old from the Newcastle area to hand himself in after going on the run following Wednesday’s attack in Clapham, south London. A 31-year-old mother, believed to be known to Ezedi, was attacked with a corrosive alkaline substance and remains “very poorly” in the hospital, with her injuries thought to be “life-changing”. The injuries to her daughters, aged three and eight, are “not likely to be life-changing”.
Speaking to Sky News, a close relative of Ezedi, who is described as having “significant” injuries to his face, said: “His injury is very bad and he needs medical attention.” Asked if he would hand his relative over to investigators, he said: “Yes.” The relative’s willingness to cooperate is a significant development in the search for the suspect, as it signals a potential breakthrough in the investigation.
Meanwhile, former immigration minister Robert Jenrick has said the “farce” which allowed the asylum-seeker to remain in the country should lead to stronger border controls. Writing in the Daily Telegraph, the Tory MP said the case was a “damning indictment” of the country’s asylum system after Ezedi was allowed to remain in the country on the “wafer-thin” claim of having converted to Christianity, which would have put him under threat in his own country. These revelations raise serious questions about the effectiveness of the asylum system and the decision-making processes that led to Ezedi being granted asylum despite his criminal history.
Metropolitan Police Commander Jon Savell said on Friday that “significant and important pieces of evidence” had been recovered in searches carried out in east London and Newcastle on Thursday night. Two empty containers labeled with corrosive warnings were found at an address in Newcastle, and forensic tests are checking if they held the substance used during the attack. This discovery is a critical development in the investigation, as it provides potential evidence linking the suspect to the crime. The recovery of these containers raises questions about the attacker’s intentions and the possibility of premeditation.
Making a direct appeal to Ezedi, Commander Savell said: “Abdul, you clearly have got some very significant injuries. We’ve seen the images. You need some medical help, so do the right thing and hand yourself in.” This direct plea from law enforcement demonstrates the urgency of the situation and the need for the suspect to take responsibility for his actions. It is a call for Ezedi to prioritize his own well-being and the safety of the community over his desire to evade capture.
Friday’s update came after it emerged Ezedi, who is believed to be from Afghanistan, was convicted of a sexual offense in 2018 and given a suspended sentence at Newcastle Crown Court. The Crown Prosecution Service confirmed he was sentenced on January 9 of that year after pleading guilty to one charge of sexual assault and one of exposure. Ezedi was put on the Sex Offenders Register for 10 years. These revelations raise serious concerns about the adequacy of the vetting process for granting asylum and the lack of consideration for public safety.
The urgent hunt for a suspected chemical attacker intensifies as key developments unfold. The promise of cooperation from a close relative offers hope for the swift resolution of this disturbing case. The recovery of crucial evidence and the direct appeal to the suspect demonstrate the determination of law enforcement to ensure justice for the victims. However, this case raises significant questions about the effectiveness of border controls and the asylum system’s ability to prioritize public safety. It serves as a reminder of the importance of stringent screening procedures and the need to balance the rights of asylum-seekers with the security of the community.