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Saturday, May 1, 1999 Published at 09:54 GMT 10:54 UK


The human cost of pub bomb

Most of the Sunday newspapers focus on the bomb blast at a gay pub in London's Soho, with front page leads accompanied by analysis, comment and graphic pictures of the scene.

Several papers report that a newly-wed bride out celebrating with her husband was killed. The Sunday People says the woman's husband is seriously hurt, and is as yet unaware that she has died. His best man had his leg amputated.

The Sunday Mirror features Veronica Sande, a barmaid at the Admiral Duncan pub where the bomb was planted. Ms Sande is pictured with blood on her face and clothes.

'Holding back tears'

She tells the paper she spotted the bag containing the device only seconds before it exploded. She shouted to the manager that it could be a bomb, just before it went off.

The Sunday Telegraph found bouquets of pink chrysanthemums and tulips laid on the pavement on Saturday, accompanied by posters saying "They can't kill us all".

Gay singer Boy George says in The Sunday Express that he found it hard to "hold back the tears" when he recognised some of the "faces covered in blood". He said he is now waiting anxiously to find out if any of his friends were among the victims.

'Contract killing'

The murder of BBC television presenter Jill Dando also features heavily in the newspapers. The Sunday Times says detectives investigating the case are looking into evidence that the killer may have escaped in a silver BMW.

It says police have interviewed a witness who claims to have seen a man matching the killer's description acting suspiciously in the area before driving off in a two-seater BMW Z3.

The News of the World says police believe that a "former male friend - jealous that Jill had fallen in love with Alan Farthing - ordered the contract killing".

Land war

Another prominent story is the crisis in the Kosovo. The Sunday Telegraph says the UK is to send more than a thousand commandos and "a significant proportion" of the Special Boat Service to the seas off the Balkans.

It claims they will set sail on 11 May on The Ocean, the Navy's newest and largest warship. Also on board will be up to 15 giant Chinook or Sea King helicopters.

The paper sees the move as a sign that Nato commanders are preparing for a land war.

Royal salaries boost

The Observer detects an 11th-hour revival by the Scottish National Party as voters prepare to go to the polls on Thursday to elect a Scottish Parliament. Scotland on Sunday says Labour sources privately accept that a late surge by the SNP could force Labour into a coalition with the Liberal Democrats.

The Queen is seeking an extra 1m a year from the Treasury, according to The Sunday Times. The money is said to be needed to meet the costs associated with Scottish devolution - and to boost the salaries of royal household staff.

It would fund an enhanced role in Scotland, including extra staff in the royal offices and residence at Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh.

A Labour member of the Commons public accounts committee, Alan Williams, declares that not a single penny more should be handed over until MPs have the right to scrutinise payments made to the royal family.

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