7 May 2011

London bomb attack failings 'did not cause deaths'

6:43 am on 7 May 2011

A coroner has criticised lapses by British security and emergency services over the July 2005 London transport bombings but said they did not cause the death of any of the 52 victims.

Lady Justice Heather Hallett ruled that the victims of the suicide bombings on 7 July 2005 had been unlawfully killed.

Many of the victims' families had called for a full public inquiry into the bombings to establish whether police and domestic security service, MI5, could have stopped them, Reuters reports.

Although making nine recommendations that aimed to save lives, Lady Justice Hallett said no further inquiries were needed.

She concluded that problems with emergency services did not lead to the death of any victim and added said the evidence did not show failings of any organisation or individual contributed to, or caused, any of the deaths.

One recommendation was the MI5 should review its procedures on showing photographs to informants, the BBC reports. The inquest heard that the security services failed to show a colour surveillance photo of two of the bombers ot an al-Qaeda informant.

Four British Islamists detonated bombs on three packed Underground trains at Aldgate, Edgware Road and Russell Square and a double decker bus in Tavistock Square.

As well as killing themselves and the 52 others, they injured over 700 people.

The inquest heard from 309 witnesses and a further 197 statements during 19 weeks of evidence, the BBC reports.

Lady Justice Hallett sat through evidence often haunting and harrowing. She heard about the bravery of individuals - people on the trains and rescue workers - and the problems they had to overcome.

Evidence at the inquest revealed the confusion of the emergency services and transport controllers as the full extent of the situation emerged. There was a shortage of vital equipment, and cellphones and radios did not work underground.

Relatives of those who died say they want lessons to be learned and for their loss to contribute to the saving of lives in the future.

The verdicts on the worst peacetime attacks on British soil came in a week that the United States said it had killed Osama bin Laden in a raid in Pakistan.

London police chief Paul Stephenson warned that another attack against Britain could come at any time.