‘Suicide bomber’s first target was Poppy Day parade’: ‘Terrorist’ wanted to go to cathedral but asked to go to hospital instead when route was blocked by traffic, says cabbie’s friend
- David Perry credited with saving lives after keeping suspect inside his car by Liverpool Women’s Hospital
- Friends of Mr Perry believe target may have been Service of Remembrance at Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral
- Police have said they ‘cannot draw any connection’ with the Poppy Day event but it was a ‘line of enquiry’
A ‘terrorist’ who detonated a suspected suicide bomb outside a hospital wanted to go to the nearby cathedral where a Remembrance Sunday service was being held but found the streets were blocked, it was claimed today.
Cabbie David Perry has been credited with saving many lives after keeping the suspect inside his car in the moments before it blew up just before 11am outside Liverpool Women’s Hospital.
Detectives say the male passenger who died in the blast had asked to go to the hospital, around ten minutes’ drive from his home in Rutland Avenue, which police have sealed off.
Friends of Mr Perry believe the actual target may have been the city’s nearby Service of Remembrance at Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral, where 1,200 military personnel, veterans and families of the fallen had gathered less than a mile from the hospital. Roads around the cathedral had been closed before the 11am Poppy Day event.
These are the events that led to the explosion outside the Liverpool Women’s Hospital yesterday and the arrests and raids that followed
One friend suggested that he had originally asked to go to the cathedral but found the way was blocked.
He told MailOnline: ‘They couldn’t get there, the roads were blocked off. The man changed his mind and asked to go to the city centre instead.
‘But when they were going past the Women’s Hospital he said to pull in there. It was just before 11. [The driver] noticed the man had some kind of light attached to his clothing and was messing around with it, it didn’t look right at all.’
Speaking at press conference this morning, Assistant Chief Constable Russ Jackson of Counter Terrorism North West revealed the theory that the man was targeting the nearby cathedral was a ‘line of enquiry’.
He said: ‘The reason why he then took it to the Women’s Hospital is unknown, as is the reason for its sudden explosion. We are of course aware that there were Remembrance events just a short distance away from the hospital and that the ignition occurred shortly before 11am.
‘We cannot at this time draw any connection with this but it is a line of enquiry we are pursuing.’
This is the moment the taxi carrying an alleged suicide bomber exploded outside a Liverpool hospital in what police and MI5 are now probing as a Poppy Day terror attack
Ahead of this afternoon’s COBRA meeting at Downing Street, the Prime Minister said the the taxi driver caught up in the Liverpool explosion acted with ‘incredible presence of mind and bravery’ while the city’s Mayor Joanne Anderson said: ‘The taxi driver, in his heroic efforts, has managed to divert what could have been an absolutely awful disaster at the hospital’, adding that he had ‘locked the doors’ to keep the bomber in the back.
After the 11am bombing, three men aged 21, 26 and 29 were arrested yesterday under S41 of the Terrorism Act at a terraced house Sutcliffe Street, Liverpool. Unverified footage of the raid, shared on social media, suggests that one team of officers came over the back wall on a ladder to prevent any escapes. This morning, again in the Kensington area, a further man aged 20 was arrested on suspicion of the same terror offence.
CCTV has emerged capturing the horrifying moment Mr Perry’s taxi became a fireball outside the reception of Liverpool Women’s Hospital, shortly before the 11am minute’s silence was due to take place yesterday.
The dark-coloured taxi is seen pulling into the hospital car park at speed but it explodes before it comes to a halt outside the reception.
Hero taxi driver David Perry (left, and right with his wife Rachel) who apparently locked a suicide bomber in his car before a blast ripped through the vehicle outside a maternity hospital in Liverpool on Sunday
All the windows shattered and smoke pours out of the car before a dazed Mr Perry opens the driver’s door and staggers out into the road around six seconds after the blast.
The injured taxi driver then appears to warn others to stay away from the car and there has also been praise for a man in high-viz yellow who runs towards the blazing taxi to help him.
Around 30 seconds after the explosion, with smoke belching out of the car, it is engulfed by flames with the bomber still inside. One witness can be seen looking into the back seat passenger. He decides the passenger is dead and can’t be saved.
Police are scrambling to discover the bomber’s true target. If it was the hospital, Dr Joseph Downing, a fellow in nationalism at LSE who studies security and terrorism, told MailOnline: ‘It’s quite strange and a worrying new pivot towards such a ‘soft’ target as a hospital that we have not seen before in Europe.’
Three men have been arrested as part of a terror probe after one person died and another was injured when a taxi pulled up and exploded (pictured) at Liverpool Women’s Hospital seconds before the 11am Remembrance Sunday silence began