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1999: Dozens injured in Soho nail bomb

Two people have been killed and at least 30 injured in the third nail-bomb attack in London in two weeks.

The bomb went off in the Admiral Duncan pub, in Soho, just after 1830. The bar was packed with drinkers at the start of the bank holiday weekend.

The pub is in Old Compton Street, at the heart of London's gay community. Police are linking this bomb with last Saturday's explosion in Brick Lane and the previous week's attack in Brixton, which injured 39 people.

Eyewitnesses spoke of a "huge bang" as the bomb went off, hurling glass and debris into the street. Jason Everton had just left his job in nearby Frith Street to buy a sandwich, when he saw the front of the pub "coming straight off".

"There were people running out, all covered in dust and bruises and cuts. It was quite horrific," he said.

'War scene'

Jean Pierre Trevor, who was working in an editing suite in offices just behind the pub, was blown three feet by the force of the blast. He went to offer his help, and found the street outside "like a war scene".

"There were people lying everywhere," he said. "Those who were around were putting thermal blankets over them. A lot of them had severe burns, so we were putting water and ice cubes on their skin."

Nearby Soho Square, usually packed with office workers, became a makeshift treatment centre for the injured.

The police cleared nearby streets amid fears that there might be a second device.

'Despicable'

At a press conference at Scotland Yard shortly after the attack, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Condon condemned the attack as "despicable" and "cowardly", and appealed for help in catching those responsible.

A call to the BBC two hours after the attack attributed the bomb to the "White Wolves". Four different right-wing extremist groups have admitted planting the Brixton bomb, but police say they have no specific corroboration that any particular group are behind the attack.

In Context
The death toll in the Soho pub bombing later rose to three. Andrea Dykes, 27, who was four months pregnant, was killed instantly; her husband was among those seriously injured. Their friend, Nik Moore, 31, was also killed, and the best man at their wedding, John Light, 32, died later in hospital.

David Copeland, a 23-year-old engineer from Hampshire, was arrested at the beginning of May, and charged with murder and causing three explosions.

During his trial, the court heard he told police he was a Nazi, and believed in a master race. The jury found him guilty, and he received six life sentences.

Sentencing him, the judge said "The public must be protected from you, and assured that if you are ever released it will not be for a very long time."


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