The woman left severely injured after being doused with a corrosive chemical in London is a devoted mum who “only wants a safe home” for her two daughters, close friends have said.
A major manhunt for suspect Abdul Ezedi, 35, is currently underway. He is accused of pouring a strong alkalki on his ex-partner, and injuring her two children, aged three and eight.
The 31-year-old victim may lose the sight in her right eye and remains sedating in hospital eight days on from the vicious attack. She is still too unwell to speak to police.
Her injuries are thought to be so severe, police are treating the incident as attempted murder.
One of the girls were also hit by the corrosive liquid while a witness described the three-year-old girl as being “slammed to the ground” on Lessar Avenue, Clapham, on January 31.
In a statement released to the PA news agency, close friends of the victim who have launched a fundraiser for the family said: “Our friend is first and foremost a devoted and loving mother.
“Her children are her life. She is generous to a fault and a wonderful cook and host. All she has ever wanted is a safe home for her and her beautiful, kind little girls.”
People in Lessar Avenue rushed to help the family in the wake of the harrowing incident. A number of them were also reportedly injured.
The friends’ statement continued: “As their loved ones we are still coming to terms with the fact that this monstrous attack will change their lives forever.
“It is difficult to imagine now how they will recover, and all we want is for them to be able to rebuild their lives.
“We cannot put into words how grateful we are to the heroic neighbours of Lessar Avenue.
“They risked their own lives to save them and we can only imagine how distressing the attack was for them too. They are angels in our eyes.
“We know this incident has deeply touched people across the UK, and even a very small donation would be invaluable.”
A fundraiser has been launched on GoFundMe to support the family.
On Wednesday, police confirmed for the first time that the victim had been in a relationship with Ezedi but it had broken down. She had agreed to meet him on the day of the attack and was in his car with her young children when he struck.
Investigators said they are keeping an open mind as to whether Ezedi, an Afghan refugee who came to the UK on a lorry in 2016, has come to harm or is being helped to stay hidden.
He fled the scene in Clapham, at first using his bank card to travel around on the Tube network, and then walking a route that appeared to hug the banks of the River Thames.
The most recent sighting was on Vauxhall Bridge Road just after 11pm on the night of the attack, with counter-terrorism officers drafted in to go through hundreds of hours of CCTV to track his route. Police said there is no evidence yet to suggest that he jumped in the river.
They have received hundreds of calls with potential sightings of Ezedi, who is from Newcastle and had driven down to London early on the morning of January 31. He was allowed to remain in the country despite being convicted of two sex offences in 2018, and twice being rejected for asylum.
In 2020, he successfully challenged the Home Office refusal, backed up by a retired Baptist minister who said he had converted to Christianity.
Metropolitan Police Commander Jon Savell said the massive manhunt for Ezedi is “an incredibly high priority attempted murder investigation”. He said: “While we still retain an open mind, it appears the motivation for this truly awful attack is the breakdown of a relationship.
“The woman remains in a critical but stable condition in hospital. As we know she has very serious injuries and remains sedated and so poorly we haven’t yet been able to speak to her.
“This was a senseless and cruel attack by a dangerous man – we urge anyone with information about Ezedi’s whereabouts to contact us as matter of urgency. He is wanted for attempted murder.”
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.”