On-the-run chemical attack suspect granted asylum in UK after sex offence

On-The-Run Chemical Attack Suspect Granted Asylum In Uk After Sex Offence
Abdul Ezedi is described by police as having ‘significant injuries to the right side of his face’. Photo: PA
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By Ted Hennessey, PA

A sex offender hunted over a chemical attack which left a girl and her mother with potentially life-changing injuries was granted asylum to stay in the UK despite his conviction.

Abdul Ezedi (35), from the Newcastle area, described by police as having “significant injuries to the right side of his face”, is still on the run, having last been seen at a supermarket in north London on Wednesday evening.


The sighting came just over an hour after an attack on a 31-year-old woman, believed to be known to Ezedi, who was with her daughters, aged three and eight. All three remain in hospital.


It is understood Ezedi, who is believed to be from Afghanistan, was convicted of a sexual offence in 2018 and given a suspended sentence at Newcastle Crown Court.

The UK's Crown Prosecution Service confirmed he was sentenced on January 9th 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.

POLICE Corrosive

He was granted asylum after two failed attempts, having reportedly travelled to the UK on a lorry in 2016, it is believed.

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, The Daily Telegraph newspaper reported.

Clapham Common incident
Abdul Ezedi

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

It is not yet known which Christian denomination the person who reportedly assisted Ezedi was from.

The Church of England said it is currently not aware of any links to its churches, with a spokesperson adding that it is “the role of the Home Office, and not the Church, to vet asylum seekers and judge the merits of their individual cases”.


In November 2021, Iraqi-born Emad Al Swealmeen (32) died from a blast and subsequent fire after his homemade bomb detonated in a taxi outside Liverpool Women’s Hospital.

He went to considerable lengths to stay in the UK, including converting to Christianity to support his failed asylum claim.

London police have released an image of Ezedi’s last-known sighting, placing him in a Tesco Express shop on Caledonian Road, north London, at 8.48pm on Wednesday.

Superintendent Gabriel Cameron said: “The image is taken from the Tesco store, where Ezedi is believed to have purchased a bottle of water. He left the shop and turned right.

“The image shows Ezedi with what appears to be significant injuries to the right side of his face. This makes him distinctive.

“If you see Ezedi, call 999 immediately. He should not be approached.”

There had been a heightened police presence in the area on Thursday, including unmarked cars with blue sirens and police vans.

A manhunt is under way for the “dangerous” suspect after the attack in Lessar Avenue, near Clapham Common, at about 7.25pm.

He also allegedly threw the younger child to the ground.

In his attempt to drive away from the scene, the attacker crashed into a stationary vehicle and made off on foot.

Ezedi is believed to have used a corrosive alkaline substance but it is not known if it was a household product that was used.

Clapham Common incident
Police at the scene in Lessar Avenue near Clapham Common, south London (James Weech/PA)

Products such as bleach and oven cleaner are alkaline substances.

Three members of the public who came to the aid of the family, two in their 30s and one in her 50s, have all been discharged from hospital with minor burns.

The force said five officers who responded to the incident were also treated and have now left hospital.

One witness to the attack, bus driver Shannon Christi, told the PA news agency she was affected by the substance while trying to help the woman and two children outside her home.

She told of seeing a man throwing a child on the floor, before hearing the mother saying: “I can’t see, I can’t see.”

As well as the 11 people taken to hospital, a man in his 50s, who also helped, declined hospital treatment for minor injuries, police said.

Scotland Yard is working in collaboration with officers in Northumbria as Ezedi, who may have been known to police, “could be going back” to Newcastle.

Clapham Common incident
Superintendent Gabriel Cameron said the incident had led to potentially life-changing injuries 

Ezedi is believed to have travelled down from the North East on the day of the attack, but detectives are unsure what led to the incident.

Bilal Khan, owner of Billy’s Garage in Byker, said the wanted man had been “persistent” when trying to buy a car off him last summer.

Mr Khan said: “He approached me last year asking if I had a car for sale. We had one which he was interested in and I told him the price. He was a very persistent type of guy, he doesn’t let things go easily.”

Mr Khan indicated that Ezedi lived in a nearby halfway house.

British home secretary James Cleverly, who described the attack as “appalling”, said: “My thoughts are with them [the victims] and the brave members of the public and police who intervened.

“I urge the public to support the Metropolitan Police’s appeal and to come forward if they have any information.”

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