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Friday, 30 June, 2000, 14:32 GMT 15:32 UK
Profile: Copeland the killer

Horror: Copeland's bedroom wall was covered in violent images
David Copeland wanted his bombing campaign to ignite a race war across Britain.

But while he was fueled by right-wing extremism and has even been photographed with one of the most senior figures in its political movement, he acted alone.

Copeland's bombs killed three people and maimed many more
The 24-year-old's first two bombs were aimed at the black community in Brixton, south London, and the Asian community in Brick Lane, east London. The final one was planted at the busy Admiral Duncan pub in Soho, central London, where the clientele was predominantly gay.

Copeland was brought up in Yately in Hampshire; his father an engineer and mother a part-time helper in a centre for the handicapped.

'Mr Angry'

Stephen Copeland
Stephen Copeland: "He was easily influenced"
At school he was small for his age and is said to have resented it, gaining the nickname "Mr Angry". He left secondary school with a few low-grade GCSE's and began drinking and taking drugs, including heroin. This was followed by convictions for assault.

Copeland never had a girlfriend and it was his great fear that people thought him gay. By 1997 when he moved to London to work on the Jubilee line extension as an engineer's assistant, he had become homophobic and racist.

He joined the extremist BNP and became an activist. In 1997 he was photographed standing next to the party's founder John Tyndall.

His father, Stephen Copeland, believes others led his son astray.

"I just believe he was easily influenced by people who saw they could indoctrinate him with their views. I just don't believe he went looking for it himself," he says.

Swastikas and rightwing literature was found in his flat
While in the BNP David Copeland found information on the internet on how to make bombs from fireworks. He also read racist and anti-Semitic literature from extreme right wing Christian groups in America.

He moved back to Hampshire at the end of 1998 and joined a small Nazi organisation, the National Socialist Movement.

He became its regional unit's leader just a few weeks before his bombing campaign.

Caught on CCTV

cctv pictures
Blurry CCTV pictures from Brixton helped to lead to Copeland's arrest
Copeland was caught largely because he had wandered around Brixton for more than an hour before planting his first bomb.

It is an area heavily covered by CCTV and after trawling through thousands of hours of tape, police singled him out, enhanced the pictures and released them in a public appeal.

The crucial tip-off to police came from Copeland's workmate, Paul Mifsud.

"I saw the paper and the bag and something hit me. I saw the picture again, I picked it up and looked at it and something hit me, I though 'that looks like David," he said.

Shrine to atrocities

Copeland collected pictures of his bombings
The name David Copeland did not appear on any MI5 or police special branch database and when unarmed police finally went to his room in Farnborough, they were astonished to find a Nazi shrine.

The walls were decorated with swastika flags and photos of atrocities and bombings from around the world, including some from his own bombings at Brixton and Brick Lane, what he called his "handiwork".

There were also explosives and weaponry, a crossbow at the ready, hunting knives and a lethal gas-powered pistol.

Asked by police the next day why he attacked blacks and Asians he replied: "Because I don't like them, I want them out of this country, I'm a national socialist, Nazi, whatever you want to call me, I believe in the master race."

Conspiracy theorist

Despite his right-wing connections, Copeland said he acted alone in his bombing campaign.

joke shop
The shop in Farnborough where Copeland bought explosives for the Brick Lane bombing
He craved fame and notoriety, but in his confession to police he made it clear that his aim was political.

"My main intent was to spread fear, resentment and hatred throughout this country, it was to cause a racial war," he told detectives.

"There'd be a backlash from the ethnic minorities, I'd just be the spark that would set fire to this country."

While on remand in prison and at Broadmoor special hospital, Copeland wrote to BBC correspondent Graeme McLagan. He denied that he was schizophrenic.

He also revealed his racist obsessions - writing that what he called "Zog", the Zionist Occupation Government, was trying to sweep him under the carpet by pumping him full of drugs.

"The Jew, devil's disciples and peoples of mud must be driven out of our land," he wrote.

"It is God's law and we must obey.

"I bomb the blacks, 'pakkies', degenerates.

"I would have bombed the Jews as well if I'd got a chance."

The courts have ensured that he never will.

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