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Sunday, April 18, 1999 Published at 19:23 GMT 20:23 UK


Mystery over London bomb

Central Brixton remains closed off after the bomb

Scotland Yard remains open-minded about who planted the nail bomb that exploded in south London on Saturday, but has ruled out links with "known terrorist groups".

Fourteen people remain in hospital following the attack at a busy Brixton market, which injured 48 shoppers, four seriously.

Police are studying closed circuit camera footage for clues but have established that the bomb was a "crude, homemade device".

The Queen, currently on a visit to Korea, has sent a message of sympathy to those injured, wishing them a speedy recovery.

Andy Beatt reports: "Members of the community are still trying to come to terms with the explosion"
The area is still cordoned off but police say it should be open to the public again by Monday.

Witnesses say they saw a man with blond hair leave a bag containing the device outside Iceland on Electric Avenue. It went off at 1730BST on a packed street.

A market trader, George Jones, 42, said he moved the bag containing the bomb only seconds before it went off to try and protect the children nearby.
[ image: Forensic scientists search for clues]
Forensic scientists search for clues

Iceland's manager, Paul Maskell, also saw the bomb moments before it exploded, having been alerted to the scene because of a suspicious-looking bag. He was injured by the flying nails and has been treated in hospital.

Mr Maskell said the bomb was in a shoe box in a plastic container, with a clock attached to the side.

"I saw my security guard on the floor and remember people screaming and the smell of burning," he said.

Local MP Kate Hoey described the attack as "absolutely outrageous", and said she was unsure as to why Brixton had been targeted.

Surgery for injured baby

Although there has been speculation that the bomb was racially motivated, it still remains unclear as to why it was planted.

A 23-month-old boy is now recovering after surgeons removed a nail from his head following the explosion, which may also have left two other people permanently blinded.

A 10cm nail lodged 2cm into his brain. It took surgeons at London's Great Ormond Street Hospital one-and-a-half hours to remove it early on Sunday morning.

Wayne Pegus: "I was dazed and didn't know what to believe"
Wayne Pegus, 55, was just 20ft away from the explosion. It tore off the little finger on his left hand and embedded a three-inch nail in his back.

The remains of his finger were amputated overnight in King's College Hospital.

[ image: The door of a delivery van was blown off in the blast]
The door of a delivery van was blown off in the blast
Sister Karen Swinson, 27, was in charge of the accident and emergency unit at King's College Hospital when the bomb victims arrived for treatment.

She said it was her first time in charge during a major incident, and that it was "pretty hectic".

There were 12 staff on the shift, but as news of the bomb spread, 100 staff, some on maternity leave, turned up to help.

  • Anyone with information should contact police on 0839 900 916 or ring Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

  • A telephone hotline has been set up to handle public inquiries on 0171 834 7777.

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