Brixton marks 20th anniversary of nail bombing

Listening to LGBT poet laureate Trudy Howson (right) reading her poem written for the occasion (l-r) Cheryl Lewis, of the Lambeth Disability Hate Crime Project; Donatus Anyanwu, representing the mayor of Lambeth; HCAW member Carol; and Pastor Lorraine Jones of Dwaynamics
Listening to LGBT poet laureate Trudy Howson (right) reading her poem written for the occasion (l-r) Cheryl Lewis of the Lambeth Disability Hate Crime Project; Donatus Anyanwu, representing the mayor of Lambeth; HCAW member Carol; and Pastor Lorraine Jones of Dwaynamics

Campaigners against hate crime and a representative of the mayor of Lambeth last night joined others on Electric Avenue to mark the 20th anniversary of the Brixton nail bomb that inured 48 people on Saturday 17 April 1999.

The attack was the first of three bombings by a right-wing extremist over a two-week period that killed three people in Soho and injured dozens of others.

Last night’s event took place at the spot the bomb was planted outside Iceland.

Pastor Lorraine Jones with Brixton PCs Joe Farrell (left) and Jake Crowther
Pastor Lorraine Jones with Brixton PCs Joe Farrell (left) and Jake Crowther

Organised by National Hate Crime Awareness Week (HCAW), it saw three candles lit to represent the three people who died and the three communities that were attacked.

Mark Healey of HCAW and local councillor Donatus Anyanwu, representing the mayor of Lambeth, light one if the three candles
Mark Healey of HCAW and local councillor Donatus Anyanwu, representing the mayor of Lambeth, light one if the three candles
Mark Healey of HCAW and Cheryl Lewis, hate crime project worker for the Lambeth Disability Hate Crime Project
Mark Healey of HCAW and Cheryl Lewis, hate crime project worker for the Lambeth Disability Hate Crime Project

Participants handed out hate crime reporting cards and information and talked to passers-by about their experiences.

Trudy Howson, LGBT Poet Laureate, read a poem written for the occasion.

In front of the plaque on the side of Iceland that marks the sport where the bomb was left: Mark Healey of HCAW; Chery Lewis; Donatus Anyanwu; and Louise Holden, London disability hate crime project manager for Inclusion London, an organisation that supports more than 70 deaf and disabled organisations in every London borough
In front of the plaque on the side of Iceland that marks the sport where the bomb was left: Mark Healey of HCAW; Chery Lewis; Donatus Anyanwu; and Louise Holden, London disability hate crime project manager for Inclusion London, an organisation that supports more than 70 deaf and disabled organisations in every London borough

The bomber, David Copland, was captured and sentenced to six terms of life imprisonment in June 2000 after being found guilty of three counts of murder and for planting the homemade explosive devices.

In a statement marking the anniversary, the Metropolitan Police said that there would be a series of community events over the next two weeks at which victims of the attacks will be commemorated.

Commander Mark McEwan said: “London’s Black, Asian and gay communities were the target of these bombs, but they were an affront to London as a whole, and to the diversity and unity which characterises this great city.”

He said the police were working round the clock to London safe from terrorism – “from patrolling key areas to delivering training and advice to businesses through our ground-breaking elearning package ACT (action counters terrorism) Awareness.

“We cannot do this alone however, so I urge the public to help by reporting anyone or anything that looks out of place or suspicious to a member of staff, security or police.”

Anyone with concerns can report anything suspicious confidentially at www.gov.uk/ACT or by calling 0800 789 321. In an emergency always call 999.

More information on what to look out for and how to contact police at www.gov.uk/ACT.

Trudy Howson's poem
Trudy Howson’s poem

1 COMMENT

  1. How sad that it was not possible to remember even one specific named victim of the Brixton Bomb who was seriously injured or traumatised by this terrorist attack. It seems remarkable that not one single victim of this specific attack has ever been interviewed, honoured or spoken to.

    Twenty years later however, I think that we can all see that although the individuals who were targeted have been virtually forgotten and removed from history, it is clear to see that the attack marked the beginning of the end of Brixton’s long established black community.

    How tragic.

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