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Friday, 30 June, 2000, 14:34 GMT 15:34 UK
Timetable of terror

In April 1999 Londoners were terrorised by three nailbomb attacks in two weeks. The third explosion - in Soho - left three people dead and many more maimed. This is how events unfolded:


Just before 1730 BST a nail bomb explodes in Brixton, injuring 39 people, some seriously. Police say there was no warning.

Home Secretary Jack Straw describes the incident as "an outrageous and mindless act".



Victims, including two children and a police officer, are wounded by flying shrapnel and shards of glass. Some are left with nails embedded in their bodies. Among the victims is a 23-month-old boy who has 2cm of a nail in his brain. Surgeons at Great Ormond Street Hospital carefully remove the nail during a one-and-a-half-hour operation.

19 April A man purporting to be from right-wing terror group Combat 18 claims it was behind the bombing. Police receive an anonymous call from a telephone box in Eltham, south-east London - close to where black student Stephen Lawrence was murdered by racist thugs in April 1993. Scotland Yard detectives say they cannot rule out the call being a hoax.

23 April Three more extreme right-wing racist groups claimed they carried out the Brixton attack, Scotland Yard reveals. Police decline to reveal their identity.


Police stage a reconstruction of the Brixton attack to encourage more witnesses to come forward.


Nailbomb campaign
Brixton 17.04.99
39 injured

Brick Lane 24.04.99
6 injured

Soho 30.04.99
3 dead, 65 injured
But soon afterwards, shortly before 1800 BST, six people are injured and buildings damaged by a second nail bomb, which explodes near Brick Lane, Shoreditch, in east London, the centre of the capital's Bangladeshi community.

The device explodes inside a red Ford Sierra. A motorist who discovered the device puts it in the boot of his car and is attempting to drive to a police station when it goes off.

Police link the incidents and say they are treating them as racist attacks.

Two hours after the attack, a 999 call is made by someone purporting to be from Combat 18 claiming to be behind the bomb.

Prime Minister Tony Blair, speaking in Washington, says: "These things are outrageous and we will not tolerate them.

"We will make every effort to find out those responsible and bring them to justice."

25 April Security is stepped up around the country as police warn that the bombings could spread outside the capital.


David Copeland caught on Brixton CCTV footage
CCTV: Picture splashed across newspapers
Police chiefs in Birmingham, Luton, Bradford, Manchester, Leicester, Liverpool, Leeds, Nottingham, Cardiff, Bristol and Glasgow are put on alert for attacks in their areas.

Scotland Yard Assistant Commissioner David Veness warns: "We cannot rule out that other attacks might take place outside the London area in places which have the same characteristics as Brixton and Brick Lane."

It also emerges that detectives are examining threatening letters to prominent black and Asian politicians by a group calling itself The White Wolves - believed to be a splinter group of Combat 18.

27 April Home Secretary Jack Straw visits the scene of the Brick Lane bombing and insists: "There is no future in evil and race hatred."

29 April Detectives issue a video image of a white man in his 20s they believe to be the prime suspect in the Brixton bombing.

Assistant Commissioner David Veness says it is the "number one priority" to trace the man captured by video cameras. The man, in a white cap, is spotted wandering around the crowded streets 90 minutes before the explosion.


Following public response to the video footage, police arrest a man in connection with the bombings and question him. He is later released on police bail. Officers say the search for the man on the video footage continues and more arrests can be expected.

Fearing further Saturday afternoon shopping attacks, police around Britain step up security, especially in areas of ethnic minority concentration.

At 6.37pm a device explodes in the Admiral Duncan pub in Old Compton Street, centre of London's gay community and much West End nightlife. Three people die and 65 are injured.

1 May Police raid a house in Cove, Hampshire, and arrest a man for questioning. They seize equipment "that could be used to make a bombs" including explosive materials.

2 May Police charge engineer David Copeland, 22, with murder and three counts of causing an explosion.

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