BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: UK
Front Page 
Northern Ireland 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

The BBC's Stephen Cape
"Copeland spoke in a matter of fact voice"
 real 28k

Thursday, 8 June, 2000, 13:51 GMT 14:51 UK
Nailbomber set out to 'terrorise'
Brick Lane bombing
Copeland targeted the Asian community in Brick Lane
London bomber David Copeland targeted a gay pub in Soho to irritate Prime Minister Tony Blair and other top politicians, a court has heard.

Copeland, who denies murdering three people at the Admiral Duncan pub in Old Compton Street in April 1999, told police he was a Nazi who believed in the master race and wanted to cause a racial war.

I am a Nazi, whatever you want to call me

David Copeland

He was caught by police after bragging about his "secret" hobby to a work colleague who identified him from a newspaper appeal.

The 24-year-old engineer, who pinned up press cuttings of his victims in his bedsit in Farnborough, Hampshire, admits manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

The pipe bomb planted at the Admiral Duncan pub in Soho killed pregnant Andrea Dykes, 27, and friends John Light, 32 and Nik Moore, 31.

Mrs Dykes' husband Julian and other drinkers were severely injured.

Copeland said he had targeted the Admiral Duncan pub because it was "full of men hugging each other" and readily admitted he was homophobic.

Terrorism and fear

The Old Bailey was silent as police interviews with Copeland, made at Charing Cross police station after his arrest in May last year, were played at the trial on Thursday.

When Detective Sergeant Terry Boland asked why he had planted the devices in Brixton, Brick Lane, and Soho, he replied: "Terrorism, fear, to terrorise people."

Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf: Copeland's reading material

Copeland, who had a list of other targets in racially-mixed Peckham, Southall and Tottenham, said one of his motives was to irritate the Labour government.

"I knew it would piss everyone off, especially like Blair and Mandelson and them lot - Mr Boateng," he said.

He claimed he had been "mentally tortured" by his parents, which led to a hatred of gay people.

Copeland also hoped the blasts would cause a backlash among ethnic minorities, encouraging "whites" to vote for the British National Party.

Terrorist Handbook

He told police: "I am a Nazi, whatever you want to call me. I believe in a ruling master race. Racial dominance should belong to us."

Copeland, who had read Hitler's book Mein Kampf, said he had acted alone because he did not trust anyone else.

Video stills
A work colleague recognised Copeland from a police appeal

Copeland said he went to Brick Lane, hoping to find a busy market, but realised he had gone on the wrong day.

He told police he was in two minds whether to disassemble the bomb, but decided to leave it anyway between two cars in a road just off Brick Lane.

"I thought it would blow up a few cars - cause a bit of smoke, a bit of fire," he said.

Copeland said he wanted to be famous. "If no-one remembers you, you never existed."

He downloaded the Terrorist's Handbook from an internet cafe and learnt how to construct his nail bombs using household objects including a four inch plastic pipe, an alarm clock and 1,500 worth of fireworks.

The court was told a nail from the bombs could travel at 450 miles per hour, inflicting serious injury where it struck.

David Copeland
David Copeland's trial is expected to last a fortnight
The jury of eight men and four women gingerly inspected mock bombs, made by forensic scientist Martin Sime using Copeland's diagrams.

Three stage blast

In one of his bombs, Copeland used 1,500 nails of different sizes to "maim, injure and kill people", Mr Sime said.

He said the devices exploded in three stages.

First, there was a very violent shock wave, capable of disrupting thin metal.

Then, a blast wave, which could rupture people's eardrums.

Finally the nails and other components of the bomb were thrown out.

The case continues.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
See also:

Links to more UK stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more UK stories