HomeLatest NewsSuspect in UK ‘corrosive substance’ attack on run for 3rd day

Suspect in UK ‘corrosive substance’ attack on run for 3rd day

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LONDON: A UK-wide hunt for a man wanted for attacking a woman and her two daughters with a corrosive substance in London entered its third day on Friday, with media reports saying the suspect was given asylum despite a sex offenses conviction.

The 31-year-old woman and her children, aged eight and three, were taken to hospital with three members of the public who went to their aid following the attack in Clapham, south London, on Wednesday night.

Five police officers who responded to the incident also suffered minor injuries, the Metropolitan Police said.

Police named the suspect as 35-year-old Abdul Ezedi, believed to be from the Newcastle area in northeastern England, and urged the public not to approach him.

He was last seen at a north London supermarket late on Wednesday. Police said he had “significant injuries to the right side of his face.”

An image from security cameras inside the supermarket was circulated.

Ezedi, from Afghanistan, pleaded guilty to one charge of sexual assault and one of exposure in January 2018, the Crown Prosecution Service, which handles prosecutions in England and Wales, said.

According to the Daily Telegraph, he was granted asylum despite the conviction, after two previous failed applications.

The newspaper said the approval was made after a priest said Ezedi had converted to Christianity.

The authorities have not confirmed or denied reports about his asylum status.

Police have not revealed the exact substance used in the attack, saying only that it was alkaline. Corrosive alkaline products include bleach and oven cleaner.

Superintendent Gabriel Cameron told reporters on Thursday that the woman and the younger child had suffered potentially “life-changing” injuries.

It could be some time before hospital staff could say how serious they were, he added.

He paid tribute to four members of the public who “bravely came to the aid of the family” in a “terrifying scenario.”

Three women who helped had been discharged from hospital with minor burns.

A man who also responded was injured but declined hospital treatment, he said.

Cameron said the attacker and the woman are believed to know each other. “This appears to be a targeted attack,” he added.

The UK has battled back against attacks involving corrosive substances such as acid, which have declined following a peak of 941 cases recorded in 2017.

But cases spiked again in 2022, according to the charity Acid Survivors Trust International (ASTI).

Police force data showed crimes involving the use of the substances increased by 69 percent across England and Wales in 2022, with at least 710 attacks compared to 421 in 2021.

The figures were obtained through freedom of information requests by the Trust which warned that the true number of attacks was likely to be “far higher” as not all police forces responded.

The previous decline in cases had been partly attributed to the introduction of stricter controls on the availability of acid and other corrosive substances under the 2019 Offensive Weapons Act. afp

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