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Wednesday, 7 June, 2000, 21:25 GMT 22:25 UK
Survivors relive bomb blast

Victims describe an orange flash before the nail blast
Survivors of the Soho pub bomb have described the scene of devastation created when the device exploded, spraying nails across the crowded bar.

Blast victim Julian Dykes told the Old Bailey the tragedy had robbed him of his pregnant wife Andrea and their unborn child.

Others relived the moment when razor-sharp nails ripped into their arms and legs as the Robbie Williams song Millennium played on the jukebox.

I have lost my wife and future baby

Blast survivor Julian Dykes

Bomber David Copeland, who denies three murders but admits manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, missed the Wednesday morning court session because he was ill.

After the lunchtime break he was accompanied in the dock by a nurse.

Final moments

Mr Dykes, 26, told the jury of his wife's last happy moments before she was killed.

They had travelled to London from their home in Colchester, Essex, with friends to see the show Mamma Mia! and spent the day shopping before meeting up at the Admiral Duncan for pre-theatre drinks.

But within moments of entering the pub in Old Compton Street, Copeland's 1,500 nail bomb exploded.

Andrea Dykes: Four months pregenant when she was killed
Mr Dykes said: "I remember an enormous rush of air and an orangey flash of light. Then I was on fire."

Mr Dykes said he ran out of the pub.

He said: "I was waving my hands trying to put myself out.

"I did not know what had happened to the other four."

Mr Dykes' injuries included a nail in the lung, shrapnel in his stomach and burns.

He came round in hospital three weeks later to be told that his wife Andrea, 27, his best man John Light, 32 and friend Nik Moore, 31, had been killed.

"I cannot really remember what happened just prior to or after the explosion, but as a result I have obviously lost my wife and future baby," he said.

Calm before the chaos

Dr Iain West told the court the three victims were close to the explosion and suffered extensive flash burns.

Mrs Dykes died from the effect of shock caused by the explosion, Mr Moore and Mr Light died from their injuries which included shrapnel damage.

Copeland, 24, an engineer from Farnborough, Hampshire, targeted the Admiral Duncan because he hated homosexuals, the jury has been told.

John Light: Killed by shrapnel from the bomb blast

Mr Light's partner Gary Partridge said the pub atmosphere was happy.

He said: "All of a sudden I saw a flashing light, I can't really say where it came from.

"I heard a popping sound, like a champagne cork. I felt my head and covered my face - I didn't really feel any pain."

Mr Partridge said everything appeared to be very calm for a few seconds, before people started to shout and scream.

He said: "I saw John being dragged out by two men.

"At first I thought he had lost a leg, but when I looked again I realised that was because it was so soaked in blood."

Bomber chatted to drinkers

Mr Partridge, who needed hospital treatment for his own injuries, was later told Mr Light had died.

Another victim, David Williams, had chatted to Copeland at the bar before the bomb went off.

He said the 24-year-old was "fidgeting, twitching, and looking around', before leaving the pub to get some money".

Mr Williams tried to describe the moment when the bomb exploded: "It was like being dropped in a swimming pool. I wasn't blown off my feet, I was still standing. I went into auto-pilot."

The court also heard how detectives found bomb-making equipment, Nazi propaganda and empty fireworks at Copeland's bedsit.

Copeland has also admitted causing explosions at Brixton and Brick Lane - in April last year.

The prosecution has not accepted Copeland's plea for manslaughter.

The case continues.

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