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The BBC's Stephen Cape
"He is alleged to have told prison staff 'I'm not mad'"
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Tuesday, 6 June, 2000, 14:30 GMT 15:30 UK
Trader thought nailbomb was joke
Brick Lane bombing
The Brick Lane bomb exploded inside a car
A market trader giving evidence at the nailbomber trial has told a court how he thought at first the Brixton bomb was a joke.

Miles Macleod, 23, the first witness to give evidence, told the Old Bailey he was working in Brixton market last year when he noticed a sports bag on the floor.

Upon closer inspection, he saw it contained pink tissue paper, nails, a clock of some sort, two batteries and wires.

David Copeland
David Copeland's trial is expected to last a fortnight
Mr Macleod said: "We thought that it was a joke. We started saying things like 'It's a bomb' and then we realised it was a bomb."

The bomb exploded as he was giving police details across the road from it, he said.

David Copeland, 24, an engineer from Farnborough, Hampshire, is charged with the murder of three people after a bomb attack on the Admiral Duncan in Soho in April 1999.

He denies murder, but admits manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

He has also pleaded guilty to causing the explosions in Brixton, the East End and in Soho during a two-week period.

Earlier, the Old Bailey heard how Mr Copeland felt no emotion when he blew up a pub - killing three friends on a night out and injuring 70 others.

'Race war'

Nigel Sweeney, QC, prosecuting, said the defendant told police: "I saw the people I was going to maim and kill. I do not feel joy about it. I do not feel sad. I just did not feel anything."

The prosecution alleges Mr Copeland launched a bombing campaign in London last year to ignite a race war in Britain.

His first two bombs were aimed at the black community in Brixton, south London and the Asian community in Brick Lane.

The final one was planted at the busy gay bar in Soho.

It killed pregnant Andrea Dykes, 27, and friends John Light, 32 and Nik Moore, 31. Mrs Dykes' husband Julian was severely injured.

After his arrest Mr Copeland allegedly told police he felt sorry for Andrea Dykes because she was pregnant. He said: "I do feel sick about that. I just had to do it. It was my destiny."

'Market plan'

The court was told Mr Copeland started preparing for the attack in Brick Lane a day after the bomb in Brixton on 17 April, which injured more than 50 people.

Mr Copeland travelled to London to plant the bomb on 24 April and expected there to be a market, but instead there was hardly anyone about, said Mr Sweeney.

Mr Sweeney said he could have defused the bomb but dumped it instead in a nearby street.

It was spotted by Gerrard Lynch, in his 20s. He put it in the boot of his car and left to find police but it exploded before he could contact them, said Mr Sweeney.

Brick Lane
The Brick Lane bomb missed the market by a day
Mr Copeland had intended the Soho bomb to go off on 1 May, but while in Soho two days previously saw his CCTV image in a newspaper, said Mr Sweeney.

He went home, collected his materials, booked into a hotel under another name and made the bomb overnight, the jury was told.

Police officers found Copeland at home hours after the Soho blast.

"They saw the Nazi flags on the walls," said Mr Sweeney.

Copeland allegedly told the officers: "Yeah, they are all down to me. I did them on my own."

Mr Sweeney said Copeland told police his heroes were Hitler, Stalin, Saddam Hussein and the US serial killer, Henry Lee.

"He said he had done it because he wanted to be famous," he said.

The trial continues.

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