A man accused of a chemical attack on a mother and two children in Clapham, south London, is on the run and being hunted by three police forces.
Police have warned the public that the suspect, Abdul Shokoor Ezedi, is “dangerous” and should not be approached. Anyone who spots him should call 999 immediately.
Follow latest: Chemical attack suspect still on the loose
This is what we know so far about the events before, during and after the attack.
The day of the attack
Ezedi’s vehicle was seen in Newcastle-upon-Tyne at 12.15am on Wednesday 31 January.
Just over six hours later, at 6.15am, his car was spotted driving in Tooting, south London.
The next confirmed sighting of his car was in Croydon, south London, at 4.30pm.
Two-and-a-half hours later, at 7pm he was then seen driving through Streatham, also in south London.
The chemical attack
At 7.25pm a 31-year-old mother and her two young girls, aged three and eight, were targeted with an alkaline substance on Lessar Avenue in Clapham, south London.
The attack was captured on CCTV, with the footage showing a man, believed to be Ezedi, running around a car before getting into the driver’s seat – while a woman and child in front of the vehicle hold their hands to their faces.
The man was then seen driving the car at the woman and hitting her, before stopping the vehicle and getting out.
He opened the back door and appeared to remove a child, before violently throwing them to the ground.
The footage also shows people from neighbouring properties emerging from their homes.
A witness, who asked not to be named, said the mother screamed “My eyes, my eyes” after the corrosive substance was thrown.
He chased the man down the street but the suspect managed to escape.
At 7.33pm Ezedi was seen boarding a train at Clapham South Tube station. Then, at 7.59pm, he got off the train at King’s Cross Tube station.
He was then spotted on CCTV at 8.42pm leaving a branch of Tesco on Caledonian Road, close to King’s Cross Station, after buying a bottle of water. After exiting the shop he turned right.
The last confirmed sighting of Ezedi was at 9pm, when he was again seen at King’s Cross Tube station, boarding a southbound Victoria Line train.
In CCTV images released by police, he is wearing a blue and white top with a black hoodie and has what detectives described as “significant injuries” to the right side of his face.
Three of the UK’s biggest forces – the Metropolitan Police, Northumbria Police and British Transport Police – are looking for him.
Sky News obtained footage of police raiding a flat in east London at around 2am on 2 February, where it is believed the suspect’s brother lives.
Police asked residents in the flats: “Have you seen a man with an injured eye?”
Residents were questioned in police cars parked nearby and were later let back into their flats. It is thought the suspect’s brother was among them, but he claimed to have had no recent contact with his sibling.
In an update on the manhunt later on 2 February, Metropolitan Police Commander Jon Savell said: “A total of five search warrants were carried out overnight, including at two addresses in east London and three in Newcastle.
“Two empty containers with corrosive warnings on the label were found at an address in Newcastle. Forensic tests are currently ongoing to see if the containers held the substance used in the attack in Clapham.”
He went on to appeal to Ezedi to hand himself in.
Police said the 31-year-old mother injured in the attack is still in hospital and under sedation. They expect her injuries will be life-changing.
However, the injuries of the two children are not as serious as first feared.
The four bystanders who rushed to their aid have all been released from hospital with minor burns and five police officers who were also injured are back on duty.
Officers have said the suspect was known to the woman and have described the attack as “targeted”.
Police have named him as 35-year-old Abdul Shokoor Ezedi.
It is understood he was granted asylum following two failed attempts after a priest vouched for his conversion to Christianity, saying he was “wholly committed” to his new religion.
He arrived in the UK via a lorry in 2016 and claimed his life would be in danger if he returned to his native Afghanistan.
Six years ago, he was handed a suspended sentence for a sexual offence in Newcastle.
He had pleaded guilty to one charge of sexual assault and one of indecent exposure, the Crown Prosecution Service confirmed.
His sentencing took place at Newcastle Crown Court on 9 January 2018, when he was given a nine-week jail term, suspended for two years, for the sexual assault.
For the indecent exposure, he was given 36 weeks’ imprisonment to be served consecutively, which was also suspended for two years.
He was discharged from probation supervision in 2020.
Ezedi was also added to the sex offenders register for 10 years.
‘I despise the PM’: George Galloway hits back at ‘little’ Rishi Sunak after Rochdale win called ‘alarming’
George Galloway told Sky News he “despises” Prime Minister Rishi Sunak when asked about the prime minister’s speech condemning extremism.
The Workers Party of Britain leader won the Rochdale by-election with 12,335 votes – more than 5,000 votes over second placed independent David Tully – and focused much of his campaign on the plight of Palestinians in Gaza.
But in Mr Sunak’s speech outside Downing Street, he said Mr Galloway returning to parliament is “beyond alarming”, saying the new MP “dismisses the horror of what happened on 7 October” and “glorifies Hezbollah”.
Follow latest: PM rails against ‘extremist forces’
When asked by Sky News’ Sam Coates if he respected Mr Sunak, the Rochdale MP fired back: “I despise the prime minister.
“And guess what? Millions and millions and millions of people in this country despise the prime minister.
“I do not respect the prime minister at all.”
‘Little’ Rishi Sunak
Speaking in his campaign office, Mr Galloway also dismissed the prime minister’s concerns, instead talking up his win on Thursday night.
“I’ve got the democratic mandate here, not Rishi Sunak,” he said, “so don’t put to me statements made by Rishi Sunak as if I’m meant to be impressed by them.
“He [doesn’t] impress me much.”
He also colourfully described the prime minister as the “little” Tory leader, and added: “The prime minister is a rather diminutive, diminished and degraded politician.
“He made a party political statement. I don’t care about Rishi Sunak’s attitude. What I care about is that the returning officer, a man of unimpeachable integrity I’m sure you’ll agree, declared it a free and fair election and me as the winner.
“And Rishi Sunak is one of the crushed two big parties in the state.”
‘Suck it up’
The prime minister was not alone in his concerns about the former Labour MP’s return to the House of Commons.
Sir Keir Starmer apologised to voters for the result in Rochdale, and said Mr Galloway “only won because Labour didn’t stand a candidate“.
The Board of Deputies of British Jews added that the by-election marked “a dark day” for the UK’s Jewish community.
Richard Tice also claimed that campaigners for Reform suffered “daily intimidation and slurs” in the Greater Manchester constituency.
But when asked by Mr Coates about the allegations of intimidation, Mr Galloway said: “You have to just suck it up. I won the election.”
Clapham: Moped rider opens fire with ‘shotgun’ while being chased by Met Police
A moped rider being chased by police has fired shots, wounding three people in south London.
Two of them suffered shotgun pellet injuries while a third was hurt by the moped, but none are believed to be in a life-threatening condition.
Officers were pursuing the vehicle, being ridden by two people, after it failed to stop in the Clapham area just before 5pm on Friday, the Metropolitan Police said.
A firearm, believed to be a shotgun, was fired from the moped near Clapham Common South Side.
The suspects then fled the scene and officers are trying to trace the moped. No arrests have been made.
The London Ambulance Service said its crews had taken two people to a major trauma centre in the capital, while the third was treated in hospital.
The Met said: “A crime scene is in place and urgent enquiries to trace the moped are ongoing. Firearms officers are searching the area.”
Several roads have been cordoned off.
A local barber, who gave his name as Kaka, said he was left “shocked” after hearing shooting close to his shop near Clapham Common.
He said: “I was in the shop just before 5pm and I heard a gunshot up the road. We were all shocked because it was so close, the police were everywhere afterwards.”
PM rails against ‘extremist forces trying to tear us apart’ in Downing Street address
Rishi Sunak has railed against “extremist forces trying to tear us apart” during a Downing Street address to the nation.
The prime minister said there has been a “shocking increase in extremist disruption and criminality” and added that “now our democracy itself is a target”.
He also described the Rochdale by-election result on Thursday night as “beyond alarming”, and claimed “our streets have been hijacked by small groups who are hostile to our values” as he urged the need to “beat this poison”.
His surprise speech came after the victory of maverick politician George Galloway in the Greater Manchester seat, following a campaign dominated by the highly-emotive issue of Gaza and dogged by accusations of abuse and intimidation.
In response, Mr Galloway told Sky News he “despised” the prime minister and did not care what he thought as he had won “a free and fair election”.
Community tensions in the UK have heightened against the backdrop of the Israel-Hamas conflict, triggered by the militant attack on 7 October.
In the face of ongoing pro-Palestinian protests, MPs have spoken of their experiences of receiving death threats and their concerns for the safety of their families, prompting the government to announce an extra £31m to protect elected representatives.
It followed chaotic scenes in Westminster over the vote on a ceasefire in Gaza, when Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle broke with precedent in his handling of proceedings because he had concerns about the intimidation suffered by some parliamentarians, sparking a backlash.
But critics argue members of the ruling party have stoked divisions, highlighting former deputy Tory chairman Lee Anderson being stripped of the party whip after he accused London mayor Sadiq Khan of being controlled by Islamists, and former home secretary Suella Braverman referring to protests as “hate marches”.
Mr Sunak said: “In recent weeks and months, we have seen a shocking increase in extremist disruption and criminality.
“What started as protests on our streets have descended into intimidation, threats and planned acts of violence.
“Jewish children fearful to wear their school uniform lest it reveals their identity. Muslim women abused in the street for the actions of a terrorist group they have no connection with.
“Now our democracy itself is a target. Council meetings and local events have been stormed. MPs do not feel safe in their homes. Long-standing parliamentary conventions have been upended because of safety concerns.
“And it’s beyond alarming that last night, the Rochdale by-election returned a candidate that dismisses the horror of what happened on 7 October, who glorifies Hezbollah and is endorsed by Nick Griffin, the racist former leader of the BNP.”
He added: “We are a country where we love our neighbours and we are building Britain together.
“But I fear that our great achievement in building the world’s most successful multi-ethnic, multi-faith democracy is being deliberately undermined.
“There are forces here at home trying to tear us apart.”
He went on: “Islamist extremists and far rights groups are spreading a poison, that poison is extremism.”
Mr Sunak announced a “new robust framework” would be introduced to “ensure we are dealing with the root cause of this problem”.
The prime minister said ministers would redouble their support for the anti-terrorism Prevent programme, demand universities stop extremist activity on campus and act to prevent people from entering the country whose “aim is to undermine its values”.
In an appeal to those taking part in pro-Palestinian protests, Mr Sunak said: “Don’t let the extremists hijack your marches. You have a chance in the coming weeks to show that you can protest decently, peacefully and with empathy for your fellow citizens.
“Let’s prove these extremists wrong and show that even when we disagree we will never be disunited from our common values of decency and respect.
“I love this country, my family and I owe it so much. The time has now come for us all to stand together to combat the forces of division and beat this poison.”
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer backed Mr Sunak’s call.
In a statement, he said: “The prime minister is right to advocate unity and to condemn the unacceptable and intimidatory behaviour that we have seen recently.
“It is an important task of leadership to defend our values and the common bonds that hold us together.
“Citizens have a right to go about their business without intimidation and elected representatives should be able to do their jobs and cast their votes without fear or favour.
“This is something agreed across the parties and which we should all defend.”
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