Grisly new footage revives horror of London bombings
Chilling footage of the devastation wrought by the 2005 London bombings was shown in public for the first time Tuesday at the inquests into the deaths of 52 passengers.
The courtroom saw slow-moving, silent video from inside the Underground trains, revealing the bloody, scorched wreckage left by three simultaneous suicide bombings in footage filmed just hours afterwards.
The hearing was also told in distressing detail about each victim's final moments, pieced together from eyewitness and forensic evidence, reviving the horror of July 7, 2005.
The 8:49 am rush-hour explosions on three trains, and on a bus about one hour later, were the largest terror attacks on British soil.
The eerie forensic police footage that was screened had been edited to ensure no human remains were shown. Parts were blurred out.
The video made at Aldgate station, where seven innocent people were killed on a train, showed empty platforms.
Blood and rescue equipment were visible on the concourse.
The camera then entered the darkness of the tunnel, towards the stricken train.
The side doors of the second carriage, next to where suicide bomber Shehzad Tanweer stood, were blown out and buckled, with other doors similarly damaged.
Ladders went up to the train floor. The inside of the carriage was wrecked, the floor littered with debris. The ripped ceiling was spattered with a dark substance.
Newspapers, clothing and bags were visible in the gloom. The seats were ripped up and apparently bloodstained.
Outside the train, twisted metal lay on the tracks.
One police officer described the soot-covered and blood-soaked passengers emerging from the Aldgate tunnel as looking like "zombies".
"A number of passengers paint a terrible scene of mangled flesh, debris and metal which had descended from the ceiling," said counsel Hugo Keith, who presents the evidence to the inquest.
Keith went through each victim of the four bombings in turn, linking together evidence to tell what happened to them.
They included immigrants, young accountants, economics graduates, biomedical scientists, musicians, people soon to marry, commuters who had changed their usual routes, and men who had let others squeeze onto a previous train.
Wounded commuters tried to help their fellow passengers, attempting resuscitation, tying clothing around injured limbs and laying coats over the deceased.
Many victims were not killed instantly, surviving for some time after the blasts, cross-referenced testimony showed.
Six people were killed in the Edgware Road station bombing by plot ringleader Mohammed Sidique Khan.
The court saw footage of similar devastation there, with the train interior scorched, jagged metal and cables hanging down and debris on the floor. Side doors were completely blown off.
"Khan's body was blown to pieces and his spine was found under the carriage," Keith said.
Some 26 people were killed in the Piccadilly Line bombing. The train was packed due to earlier delays. Twenty bodies were found in the first carriage, while six were blown into the tunnel.
"Of the 20... we have evidence that at least six of them were alive for a period after the blast," Keith said.
The Piccadilly footage entered through the driver's cabin. Inside the first carriage, the floor was soaked in blood.
It appeared as if the next carriage down had been used as a makeshift medical theatre, with medical equipment, drip stands and water bottles evident.
Keith said some of the 13 killed in the Tavistock Square bus bombing were on board because they had been evacuated from the Underground.
Six of the dead briefly survived, some having been blown out of the bus onto the road. Of the other seven, five were dead in the bus and two blown clear from the top deck.
The long-awaited inquests, expected to last five months, will probe the reaction of the emergency services and examine whether the intelligence services could have prevented the attacks.
© 2010 AFP