Specialist police divers have begun searching an area of the River Thames for the body of Clapham chemical attack suspect Abdul Ezedi.
A police boat circled between Vauxhall and Chelsea bridges on Saturday morning. Despite the poor visibility caused by the weather, a crowd gathered to watch the operation.
In a briefing at Scotland Yard on Friday, 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, Detective Superintendent 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.’
Ezedi, from the Newcastle area, is accused of pouring a strong alkali on his ex-partner, and injuring her two young children, aged three and eight, on Wednesday January 31 in Clapham, south London.
The woman had been in a relationship with Ezedi, with the breakdown of the relationship a possible motive for the attack.
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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.
Our map and full timeline below show Ezedi’s known movements since the attack.
Timeline of Abdul Ezedi's movements
7.25pm – The attack takes place in Lessar Avenue.
7.33pm – Ezedi boards a train at Clapham South Tube station.
8.42pm – He is seen on CCTV leaving Tesco at 21 Caledonian Road.
9pm – Ezedi enters King’s Cross Tube station and boards a Victoria Line Tube southbound.
9.33pm – He is seen leaving Tower Hill Underground Station.
10.04pm – He passes the Unilever building and heads towards Victoria Embankment.
10.33pm – Ezedi is seen walking south on Westminster bridge.
10.42pm – Ezedi was seen walking west on south Thames Path towards Lambeth Bridge.
10.55pm – He travels along the Albert Embankment approaching Vauxhall Bridge.
11.03pm – He crosses Vauxhall Bridge Road, into Grosvenor Road.
11.25pm – He crosses over Chelsea Bridge and enters Battersea Park.
11.27pm – He crosses back over Chelsea Bridge towards the north side. This is the last recorded sighting of him.
Who is Abdul Ezedi?
Ezedi arrived in the UK in a lorry eight years ago and was granted asylum after two failed applications after he said he’d converted to Christianity – and said it would put him at risk to return to his homeland.
The claim was backed up by a priest who wrote a letter supporting his claim.
He was convicted of ‘sexual assault/exposure’ at Newcastle Crown Court in 2018 and was given a suspended sentence with an unpaid work order.
Once the order was completed in 2020, he was discharged from probation supervision but will remain on the sex offenders register until 2028.
Detectives believe he is known to the family who were injured, but they are not clear on the exact relationship.
Emergency services rushed to Lessar Avenue, near Clapham Common, at about 7.25pm on Wednesday.
He is described as mild-mannered and to ‘keep himself to himself’, according to residents in the Byker area who spoke to the Telegraph.
Ezedi’s last known address was a hostel in the city which provides accommodation for people deemed to be homeless or vulnerable.
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