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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 July 2006, 06:54 GMT 07:54 UK
'Don't wait for me tonight, mum'
By Paula Dear
BBC News

Carrie Taylor, 24, was one of seven people who died on a Circle Line train near Aldgate on 7 July last year, when Shehzad Tanweer detonated a bomb in her carriage as she travelled to work.

Carrie and June Taylor travelling together an hour before the blasts on 7 July
Essex 07:48 - June cherishes the final CCTV image of her and Carrie

Her parents, June and John, endured a 10-day wait before DNA tests confirmed their daughter was dead.

One year on the couple spoke about their grief, anger and belief their daughter may have lived had the emergency response been different.

"Some days you feel okay and others you feel absolutely awful.

"We are not prepared to let go yet. We neither want to let go of Carrie nor let go of trying to get justice for her and everyone else," says June Taylor.

On the first anniversary, they will make their first visit to Aldgate station since the London bombings to see a plaque bearing the victims' names unveiled.

"I'm not looking forward to that, it's going to be hard," said the 58-year-old.

Our son was strong for us - he said unless we knew she had gone, then she hadn't gone
John Taylor

As with so many of the bombing victims, that Thursday last summer was a routine day for the Taylors.

Carrie and her mother travelled to London together from their home in Billericay, Essex, by overland train, as they did every day.

Carrie put her make-up on, with June holding her mascara as she applied it with a brush, and they chatted.

When they got to Liverpool Street, Carrie headed for the Tube and June walked to work.

"We always used to do the same silly stuff. Carrie would give me a peck on the cheek, and I would give her a pat on the bum.

"I always waited until she was out of sight. That day she finally gave me a big wave and a grin as if to say: 'Off you go, mother.'"

Carrie wrapped in gift paper at a party
Carrie loved to have fun and had lots of friends, said her family

The pair usually travelled home together, but that morning June recalls: "She said I shouldn't wait for her that night, because she was going shopping with her friend."

The rest of the day is a familiar story of concern, attempts to get in touch, worry then increasing panic, followed by a trawl round hospitals in the hope that Carrie was dazed or at worst injured.

"We didn't know where she was. If she had gone straight to work she wouldn't have been on the bombed train, but she had mentioned she had to buy something on the way which would have delayed her.

"We spent the first three days hardly eating or going to bed. I couldn't turn the TV off," says June.

'My heart sank'

John, 57, who works for security at London's Tate Gallery, says their 29-year-old son Simon was a tower of strength.

"There's no way to describe what we went through for those 10 days," he says. "Our son was strong for us; he said unless we knew she had gone, then she hadn't gone."

Prints and DNA swabs were taken from the house by forensics experts, and then the call came from the family's police liaison officer.

"When they rang and said they wanted to come and speak to us, my heart just sank. You just knew what they were going to tell you," June says.

"At first we didn't want to know about what had happened to her, it was bad enough knowing she wasn't coming home," says June.

Simon, June, Carrie and John Taylor on holiday in the USA
The family still holidayed together in the USA every year

But four months later, a man came forward saying he had cradled a woman he believed to be Carrie, who was still alive, for about 30 minutes after the explosion.

June said: "The police came and said he could go but he didn't want to leave her. The ambulance people arrived and put a drip into her but after four minutes she died."

The couple say they are angry at the management of the rescue operation - not at the rescuers themselves - for "leaving our daughter down there with those injuries" and believe something could have been done to save her had help arrived sooner.

"We were mortified to hear about this, it threw us right back to 7 July," says June.

Events or milestones often take them back to that day, like getting Carrie's handbag back, making the journey to London for the first time, reading of official reports into the bombings, and dealing with media enquiries.

And not long after the bombings, the police gave the couple a grainy CCTV image of June and Carrie walking through Billericay station an hour before the blasts - a photo June treasures.

I find it so hard coming home to an empty house - Carrie and I used to come home together, she would feed the cats and we would start dinner
June Taylor

Meanwhile, they are a family grieving but trying to get on with life.

Simon, who also works at the Tate, moved back in with his parents on the day of the bombings and has stayed.

"He needed to be here and we certainly needed him. We felt stronger as a family, being together."

June now repeats the morning routine with Simon that she did with Carrie, with her son disappearing down the same Tube entrance every day just as her daughter once did.

"He and Carrie were very close. He used to come home at weekends and they would go to the pictures together. The day before she died they had lunch in London," says June.

"He was so strong at first, but in the last three months he has felt like we did last autumn. The sudden realisation he doesn't have his sister any more has hit hard. He feels solitary now."

'Soap box'

With Simon and John working later in the evening, this is one of the saddest times of the day for June.

"I find it so hard coming home to an empty house. Carrie and I used to come home together, she would feed the cats and we would start dinner."

The family always made time to go on holiday together to Florida each year.

John said this year's trip in February was "tough but necessary".

"If we hadn't gone, then the bombers would have won."

Some of the family's anger is channelled into a campaign to get better compensation for survivors and for a public inquiry into the bombings, and they are in touch with about 15 other affected families.

To some extent, the attacks have made them more political.

"We were very much in favour of the (defeated proposal to hold terror suspects without charge for) 90 days and think there is too much political correctness about human rights," says June.

"After Carrie died we were in a void, not knowing where to turn, not knowing why she had to be the one it happened to.

"As we move further down the line, I want to stand on my soap box and tell people how I feel."




SEE ALSO
Obituary: Carrie Taylor
03 Aug 05 |  UK

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