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‘Panic on police faces’ as ‘body of suspect’ found in River Thames

‘Panic on police faces’ as ‘body of suspect’ found in River Thames


Footage has emerged of the moment police discovered what they believe to be the body of Clapham chemical attack suspect Abdul Ezedi in the River Thames.

The video shows two officers pulling a body out of the water at Tower Pier, near Tower Bridge and the Tower of London.

It also shows officers working alongside lifeboat crews on the River Thames during the operation.

One witness to the incident, Billy Kither, said he and his friend were on an Uber Boat on the Thames near Tower Bridge on Monday around 4pm when he saw a flurry of police activity.

“Police came on to the boat, I think for random checks,” he told Sky News.

“They were just walking about looking at people, making sure everyone was okay.

“Then the radio went for the boat, saying ‘We can’t stop there is someone in the water’.

“The police radios started going, police boats, the search and rescue pulled up next to us and the police hopped on [another boat]. [There was] panic on their faces.”

Read more:
Timeline of chemical attack suspect’s movements

Marine police teams had been searching the River Thames in London for Ezedi, who was accused of throwing a strong alkali on his ex-partner and injuring her daughters, aged three and eight.

He is believed to have “gone in the water” a few hours after the south London attack on 31 January.

Police said the crew of a passing boat reported they had seen a body in the water at Tower Pier EC3 around 4pm on Monday.

The body was recovered by the Met’s Marine Policing Unit and has been seen by detectives investigating the chemical attack.

“Based on the distinctive clothing he was wearing at the time of the attack and property found on his body, we strongly believe we have recovered the body of Ezedi,” Commander Jon Savell said.

“We have been in contact with his family to pass on the news.

“As you may expect after a considerable period of time in the strong current of the Thames, formal identification is not possible visually, nor from fingerprints.

“We will work with the coroner on other ways to complete formal identification, such as DNA testing and dental records. That may take some time.”

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The Metropolitan Police said on 9 February that it was likely Ezedi had entered the River Thames in the area of Chelsea Bridge in London. CCTV showed him leaning over railings just hours after the attack.

Officers said he had probably died.

Police had previously warned his body might never be found, due to the fast winter currents in the river.

A nationwide manhunt had been launched for Ezedi, after his suspected involvement in the Clapham assault.

A corrosive alkaline substance was thrown and also injured police officers who responded to the incident, as well as neighbours on Lessar Avenue, near Clapham Common, who rushed to help the family.

Police said on Tuesday that the condition of the woman had improved and that she remained in a stable condition in hospital, and was no longer sedated.

A friend of the woman told Sky News the victim is still in critical care, has lost her sight in one eye and that “physically and mentally there is a very, very long road ahead for her and the girls”.

They added that the mother is “desperate to be reunited” with her daughters and is “determined to get out of hospital as quickly as possible”.

The friend described her as the “strongest, most independent person we know”.

More than £44,000 has been raised so far for the woman and her two children in a fundraising drive organised by her friends.

Commander Savell said officers had still not been able to speak to her, but hoped to as soon as she was well enough.

“Our enquiries continue into the attack,” he added.

Ezedi was previously in a relationship with the woman, police believe, but it broke down.

It was considered a possible motive by the force.

The 35-year-old lived in Newcastle after a successful asylum application to stay in the UK – despite being convicted of a sexual offence.



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