Advertisement

Clapham chemical attack: Relative of suspect says wanted man was in relationship with victim

The man accused of a chemical attack on a mother and her two young children in south London was in a relationship with the woman, a relative of the suspect has told Sky News.

The close relative also said they would hand the suspect in to the police themselves if they had to.

Abdul Ezedi, 35, has been urged by police to hand himself in after going on the run following the attack involving a corrosive alkaline substance in Clapham on Wednesday.

It's now known twelve people were injured, including a mother, 31, and her two daughters, aged three and eight. All three remain in hospital, with the mother's injuries thought to be "life-changing".

CCTV images released by police on Friday showed Ezedi, with what appeared to be extensive injuries to the right side of his face.

A close relative of the suspect has told Sky News that they are "worried about" him and they want to "find out if he is alive or dead".

"His injury is very bad and he needs medical attention," they said.

The relative said they are planning to travel from London to Newcastle, where Ezedi is understood to live, to try to find him.

"I will bring him in by myself if I have to," they added.

Ezedi arrived in the UK on a lorry in 2016 after fleeing Afghanistan. After two failed attempts, his asylum claim to stay in the UK was granted in 2020.

Read more:
Footage emerges of chemical attack
Attack was 'appalling' - home secretary
Timeline of suspect's movements

Church charity 'investigating' links

Ezedi was allowed to stay in the country after a priest confirmed he had converted to Christianity and was "wholly committed" to his new religion, Sky News understands.

An asylum seeker can claim asylum in the UK on the basis of religious persecution in their native country.

A spokesperson for the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle has confirmed to Sky News that Ezedi did visit the diocesan Justice and Peace Refugee Project - a Catholic charity which helps those who come to them in need.

But they said after investigation there was "no indication" he was "received into the Catholic faith in this diocese or that a Catholic priest of this diocese gave him a reference".

The diocese had checked local parish records and central records and consulted with clergy, the spokesperson said.

"We do not know which Christian church received him nor which Christian minister gave him a reference," they added.

'We need the full picture'

Growing up in Afghanistan, the relative described Ezedi as "a quiet, good person", "who cares about everyone".

The relative believes the allegations made against him seem out of character.

"We need to know the full picture, what really happened," they said.

Ezedi was handed a suspended sentence for a sexual offence in Newcastle in 2018 and was discharged from probation supervision two years later.

When asked about this offence, the relative said: "This isn't the man I know, I don't believe he would do that kind of thing."