On November 14 2021, at approximately 10:59 am, David Perry the cab driver of Iraq-born asylum seeker Emad Al Swealmeen, 32, survived the horrific terror bombing. The explosion occurred inside the taxi as it approached the main entrance of the Liverpool Women’s Hospital in Liverpool, England. The taxi driver moved very “rapidly and bravely” in identifying his unsafety and evacuated the vehicle just seconds before the blast. Mr Perry was admitted to hospital where it was reported that he had a few minor injuries however, was discharged the following day.
The taxi driver spotted a “little red light” on the vest of the passenger and knew he was wearing a bomb vest. The passenger detonated the bomb killing himself and injuring Mr Perry.
Assistant Chief Constable Russ Jackson, head of Counter Terrorism Policing North West, said the the passenger had appeared to have made the device himself over the course of several months. According to the police, the bomb was a homemade explosive with ball bearings attached.
Security guard of the hospital Darren Knowles had witnessed the whole incident from the explosion tov the lucky escape of the taxi driver. Mr Knowles was later interviewed by BBC whereby he had stated that he had thought it was a “malfunction with the vehicle and ran over to see if he was alright” Mr Perry then responded “Been blown up, been blown up, there’s a bomb in my car” Mr Perry was in such a shock due to the explosion and expressed to Mr Knowles how “he wouldn’t have expected this to take place at a children’s hospital”
What happened afterwards?
The public acknowledged and praised Mr Perry for his bravery and identified his heroic act that could have ended with a lot more tragedies. Prime Minister Boris Johnson congratulated the driver saying, “it does look like as though the taxi driver in question did behave with incredible presence of mind and bravery”
On November 15, the police declared the incident as a terrorist attack and the UK terror threat level was raised from substantial to severe.
What do we know about the bomber?
Al Swealmeen began making purchases for his attack in April, according to counter-terror police. Mr Jackson said the bomber lived at a property in Sutcliffe Street and began renting a property in Rutland Avenue in April. After the incident the Rutland Avenue home, alongside other properties in the surrounding area were raided by police where it was discovered that Al Swealmeen had been planning this attack.
A Christian couple Elizabeth and Malcolm Hitchcott told ITV News that they had known Al Swealmeen and had briefly lived together after his conversion to Christianity. Mr Hitchcott described him as a “very quiet fellow” who formally converted from Islam to Christianity at a ceremony in Liverpool Anglican Cathedral. Al Swealmeen was described by Mrs Hitchcott as a “lovely guy” to the BBC, she also added to that both Mr and Mrs Hitchcott “loved him” and were very saddened and shocked when they heard the news.
audio clip – 12/11/2021
video package – 12/11/2021