The mother injured when she was doused with a corrosive liquid in south London had been in a relationship with her suspected attacker, police have revealed.
Investigators said the breakdown of the relationship may have been a motive for the harrowing attack, which saw the 31-year-old and her two daughters, aged three and eight, hurt.
A massive manhunt is under way for suspect Abdul Ezedi, with the last confirmed sighting now at around 11pm on Wednesday January 31, a few hours after the attack, on Vauxhall Bridge Road.
He was initially travelling around on the Tube network using his bank card and, after that, appears to have been walking a route that broadly hugged the River Thames.
The woman hurt in the attack, who may lose the sight in her right eye, remains sedated in hospital and is still too ill to speak to police.
Investigators said that she had agreed to meet him on the day of the attack, and that she and her children were in a car with Ezedi when he struck.
Metropolitan Police Commander Jon Savell said the massive manhunt for Ezedi is “an incredibly high-priority attempted murder investigation”.
Turning to potential motives, he said: “They were in a relationship and that relationship had broken down.”
Ezedi, who is not the father of the children who were hurt, suffered significant facial injuries that could prove fatal if left untreated.
Detective Superintendent Rick Sewart, who is leading the hunt for the Afghan refugee, said: “The medical injuries to Ezedi appear very significant from imagery that we have recovered, to the right side of his face.
“And through the National Crime Agency we have received medical interpretation which would indicate that his injuries could be potentially fatal if not treated.”
Ezedi came to the UK hidden in a lorry in 2016, and was turned down twice for asylum before successfully appealing against the Home Office rejection by claiming he had converted to Christianity.
He was convicted of two sexual offences in 2018 but was allowed to stay in the UK because his crimes were not serious enough to meet the threshold for deportation.
A tribunal judge is understood to have ruled in favour of his asylum claim in 2020 after a retired Baptist church minister confirmed he had converted to Christianity, reportedly describing Ezedi as “wholly committed” to his new religion.
On Wednesday, a Baptist church in Tyne and Wear confirmed it was aware of a “connection” it had with the suspect .
In a statement, the church in Jarrow said: “Grange Road Baptist Church brings together and welcomes people from all walks of life and from many different nations.
“We are aware of the connection Abdul Shakoor Ezedi has had with our church.
“As soon as we became aware of the current situation, we made contact with and are co-operating with the relevant authorities. We are praying for all those affected by the situation.”
Investigators say they are keeping an open mind as to whether Ezedi is dead, possibly after jumping in the river, or whether he is being helped to stay hidden.
Details of Ezedi were circulated to all UK forces and ports at an early stage.
Darius Nasimi, from the charity, the Afghanistan and Central Asian Association, called on anyone in the community who may be helping him to contact police.
Published: by Radio NewsHub