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Last Updated: Monday, 22 August 2005, 18:35 GMT 19:35 UK
Olympics bomber sentenced to life
Eric Rudolph (pic: 2003)
Eric Rudolph agreed to a plea bargain to escape the death penalty
US Olympic bomber Eric Rudolph has been sentenced to life in prison for the attack on the 1996 Atlanta games, which killed one person and injured 111.

Rudolph, 38, received life terms for the Atlanta bombing and attacks on an abortion centre and a gay nightclub.

In July he was sentenced to life for bombing an Alabama abortion centre. His four life terms do not permit parole.

Captured in North Carolina in 2003 after five years on the run, he struck a deal to avoid the death penalty.

A former soldier with extreme views on abortion and homosexuality, Rudolph has said he staged his attacks because of his anger at the US federal government.

'Chapter closed'

Many of the victims of the Olympic bombing chose not to attend the sentencing hearing.

Those who did attend, though, heard him apologise for the bombings.

"I can't begin to truly understand the pain that I have inflicted on these innocent people. To those victims, I apologise," he said.

The husband of Alice Hawthorne, the woman killed in the blast, spoke at the sentencing, which fell on the 18th anniversary of the couple's marriage.

1996: Atlanta Olympic games, 1 dead
1997: Atlanta gay nightclub
1997: Atlanta abortion clinic
1998: Birmingham abortion clinic, 1 dead

"Every anniversary has been filled with anger, weeping and sorrow, but this anniversary brings to an end a very painful and emotional chapter in this family," John Hawthorne told his wife's killer.

"This is the day Alice can rest, for justice is finally being served."

Rudolph, who is suspected of links with white supremacists and describes himself as a devout Christian, had used his trial to portray himself as a campaigner against an immoral government.

He was identified after the attack on the abortion clinic in Birmingham, Alabama, that killed one policeman.

He then spent years on the run before being captured while scavenging for food.

Rudolph accepted a plea bargain from prosecutors who agreed not to seek the death penalty in exchange for the bomber leading police to a cache of dynamite he had stowed in North Carolina's woodlands.

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31 May 03 |  Americas

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