Detectives hunting for Clapham attack fugitive Abdul Ezedi have offered a £20,000 reward for information leading to his capture and have warned anyone found helping him faces arrest.
With the sex offender still at large four days after allegedly attacked a woman and her two children with a corrosive alkaline substance in south London – leaving 12 people with injuries – the Metropolitan Police said they believe there are people who know where he is who have not come forward.
Raising fears that Ezedi – who was granted asylum from his native Afghanistan following a conviction for sexual assault and exposure – could seek to flee the country.
Scotland Yard said the Border Force was among multiple agencies helping to find Ezedi, with detectives in London having alerted all UK police forces and ports.
Police updated their last sighting by just over half an hour on Sunday, having now traced Ezedi’s movements up until 9:33pm on Wedneday – less than two hours after the attack – when he was seen leaving Tower Hill Underground station.
And investigators revealed new details from laboratory analysis about the chemical used in the attack, which they said was “a very strong concentrated corrosive substance, either liquid sodium hydroxide or liquid sodium carbonate”, alkalines used to make soap and bleach respectively.
It comes after a witness revealed the three-year-old victim would have died if his partner hadn’t intervened in the attack on Lessar Avenue.
“My partner lunged in and tackled him, grabbing his leg and falling to the ground in the process like a rugby tackle,” he told The Times. “I have no doubt that if my partner had not jumped in then the child would no longer be with us.”
While the two young girls, aged three and eight, are not thought to have suffered life-changing injuries as initially feared, it is believed that their mother has. She remains in a critical but stable condition.
Commander Jon Savell said: “I am hugely grateful to the public for the significant number of calls that we have received. Your help is critical. A reward of up to £20,000 is now available for information leading to his arrest.
“I must warn anyone who is helping Ezedi to evade capture – if you are harbouring or assisting him then you will be arrested.
“Our inquiry line is staffed 24/7 by specialist detectives who are progressing enquiries around-the-clock. If you know where he is or have information that may assist call them now.”
In an appeal directly to Ezedi, Darius Nasimi, of the charity the Afghanistan & Central Asian Association said: “Abdul, I am speaking directly to you. I want you to go straight to a police station immediately.
“You have a serious injury that needs to be seen to but, more importantly, you must do the right thing and hand yourself in to police. This has gone on for long enough.
“You can contact the charity if you wish and we can speak to you, and work together so that you can help the police with their enquiries. Abdul, please contact us as soon as you can, call 999, or go to a police station.”
As part of their renewed appeal, officers also released new CCTV footage showing Ezedi at a Tesco store in Caledonian Road, after which he travelled on the Tube to Tower Hill station.
Anyone with information about Abdul Ezedi is asked to call 020 7175 2784 or for an immediate sighting dial 999. To remain anonymous, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers.