Abdul Ezedi, a man who is the subject of a police manhunt, could have taken his own life or be using an ally to stay hidden, a former senior police officer has said.

Metropolitan Police officers have been searching for Abdul Ezedi since Wednesday (January 31), after a 31-year-old woman and her daughters, aged eight and three, were attacked with alkali in Clapham.

The attack on the woman, believed to be known to Ezedi, and her daughters, took place in Lessar Avenue at 7.25pm that night.

Ezedi made off in his car but it crashed nearby. He then left the vehicle and ran off.

Nick Aldworth, a former national counter-terrorism co-ordinator, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I think if we’ve not seen or heard from him in the the last couple of days, which appears to be the case, he’s gone to ground, possibly supported by somebody… or it’s not unlikely or improbable that he may have taken his own life.

"There is therefore a body to be found somewhere.”

The last confirmed sighting of Ezedi was 9.33pm on Wednesday, January 31, leaving Tower Hill underground station.

He was seen on CCTV leaving a Tesco Express at 21 Caledonian Road, near King’s Cross, and turning right.

He had significant facial injuries and is believed to have bought a bottle of water.

He changed trains at Victoria where he arrived on the Victoria line at 9.10pm and departed on the eastbound district line at 9.16pm.

Police have previously confirmed that the liquid used in the attack was a strong, concentrated corrosive substance which was either liquid sodium hydroxide or liquid sodium carbonate.

Mr Aldworth said the force would be tracking Ezedi’s movements through public cameras, which had been a “very effective” method in previous cases.

Asked if the Met Police would now have a precise location for his whereabouts, he said: “I think they’ll have a very good sense of what area he’s in.

“What you can’t discount of course is that he has been picked up by an ally and moved somewhere else, perhaps in a vehicle. The reason they’ve offered a £20,000 reward is usually because there’s a sense that somebody inside the community might well be harbouring this individual.”

Cabinet minister Chris Heaton-Harris insisted Abdul Ezedi would have been detained and deported if the Government’s Nationality and Borders Bill had been in place.

Asked whether he agreed with his colleague Gillian Keegan’s remark that the focus around the alkali attack is “not really about asylum,” he told LBC: “We know as a Government we need to tighten those (powers) further and that’s what we’re trying to do with our Rwanda Bill…

“This was an unbelievably tragic occurrence. Everybody that I know has been completely shocked by it. But we’ve tightened our laws since and he would not be here had we had the Nationality and Borders Bill in place and he’d been detained and deported properly.”