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1976: Tube driver shot dead

The driver of a London Underground train has been shot dead while chasing a gunman who is believed to have detonated a bomb on his train.

Julius Stephen, 34, of Hammersmith, died almost instantly, and a Post Office engineer Peter Chalk, 24, who had been working nearby and also chased the gunman, is now critically ill in hospital.

Nine other people were injured as the 5lb (2.2 kilograms) bomb exploded in the first carriage of the train at 1650 GMT only minutes after it left West Ham, in east London.

The gunman, who is understood to have caused the explosion on the train, was chased by police but turned the gun on himself, as he was cornered by officers.

IRA link

Armed detectives are currently guarding a man at Queen Mary's Hospital, West Ham.

Police believe the bomb exploded prematurely and say it may be linked to the IRA.

Bomb squad detectives sifted through the charred interior of the carriage and found several items similar to other IRA bombs which have exploded in London in the last few months.

The train, travelling on an open air section of the track along the Metropolitan Line, was due to pass at rush hour through crowded stations such as Liverpool Street, King's Cross, Baker Street and Paddington on route from Barking to Hammersmith.

The incident is the third apparent attack on commuters in London in recent weeks.

On 13 February a 20lb (9 kg) bomb was found in a small case at Oxford Circus Underground Station and was defused and on 4 March a 10lb (4.5 kg) bomb exploded in an empty train near Cannon Street station, injuring eight people in a passing train.

The gunman is described as being in his mid-thirties, with a London address.

Police are warning commuters to be vigilant of packages at stations, or anyone acting suspiciously.

In Context
The day after this incident a man was injured when a bomb exploded on a tube train at Wood Green, in north London.

Days earlier the Provisional IRA in Dublin, calling itself the Army of Ireland, said: "We now issue a solemn warning to the British public. You have given the IRA the label of terrorist... Now we will act as terrorists."

It is thought to be related to a plea by a man called Eddie Gallagher before he was sentenced for kidnapping at Dublin Special Criminal Court in which he urged his small group of Republican supporters to launch a terror campaign in Britain.

The chilling message and the subsequent attacks led to armed police travelling in plain clothes on the London Underground as members of the public.


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