UK

7/7 inquest hears of Aldgate survivor's lucky escape

  • 18 October 2010
  • From the section UK

A survivor of the 7/7 attacks has told an inquest into the bombings that he is a "deeply lucky person".

Michael Henning was only yards from Shehzad Tanweer when he detonated a device on a Circle line train at Aldgate Tube station.

Mr Henning criticised emergency service "protocols" which prevented victims of the blast being rescued sooner, saying he felt angry at the delays.

Some of the families of those killed have also given testimonies.

The inquests into the 52 deaths in 2005 are expected to take up to five months.

Mr Henning told the inquest of his anger at seeing three separate groups of firemen waiting around in the station, after he was evacuated from the bombed train.

He said he approached them and asked why they had not entered the train tunnels to help the survivors.

Mr Henning said none of the firefighters looked at him or replied, except one man who said they were worried about a secondary explosion.

'Difficult image'

"There were people that may have survived if they had got urgent medical response there and then," Mr Henning said.

"My view is even if those who were too severely wounded to ever survive - some of them died in agony for 20, 30, 40 minutes - at least they should have had the dignity of having some morphine or something."

Mr Henning said he was lucky to survive after choosing to get on the third carriage instead of the second, where Tanweer was standing.

He told the inquest he thought he had died following the blast, until he felt blood on the right side of his face, caused by flying glass.

He said he then heard screams from seriously injured people in the second carriage and when he looked to see if he could help, saw a horrifying sight.

"I looked through the twisted windows to see the darkness and I could see people moving slowly in pain," he said.

"I don't want to go into too much detail about what I saw because I know the police reports have detailed such things, but it is a very difficult image to hold."

One of the family members to give evidence was the father of 24-year-old Carrie Taylor, who was visibly moved as he spoke of his youngest child.

Marriage plans

John Taylor recalled how his daughter, a drama and theatre student at Royal Holloway, University of London, particularly loved Russian plays, something the rest of the family "never grasped".

Image caption Italian Benedetta Ciaccia was killed two months from her wedding day

He said it was devastating that it was only just as she started to reap the benefits of all her hard work that she died so tragically.

"She had friends from a variety of backgrounds. It was a mark of her temperament that she didn't have any prejudices and always found the best in people," he added.

The mother of Lee Baisden, 34, from Romford in Essex, said her son had hoped to marry his partner Paul Groman before he was killed in the Aldgate blast.

Denise Baisden read out a statement on behalf of his family and former boyfriend, saying her accountant son would be "greatly missed".

Italian Benedetta Ciaccia, 30, had been two months from her wedding day when she was killed, her father told the inquest.

In a statement read to the court, Roberto Ciaccia said his daughter, a business analyst from Norwich, "was a beautiful, sweet, Italian girl who greatly loved life.

"All she worked for was to have a family of her own with many children which she really loved," he said.

Training trip

Richard Ellery, 21, who worked for Jessops camera store in Ipswich near his home, was on his way to a training course at the firm's Kensington branch when he was caught in the Aldgate blast.

A statement from one of his flatmates said: "He had a great sense of humour and was quick-witted. The only time he was grumpy was in the morning."

Father-of-two Richard Gray, 41, from Ipswich, was "above all a family man", who had been a founding member of the Ipswich and East Suffolk Hockey Club in 1986, the inquest heard.

In a statement, his widow Louise described him as "fun-loving, kind and generous and an ordinary family man".

Anne Moffat, 48, from Old Harlow, Essex, "shed so much light on so many other people's lives", according to her brother Chris Moffat.

Born on Christmas day, he described Ms Moffat, who had worked for Girlguiding UK for 20 years, as "a Christmas gift to all who knew her".

Solicitor Fiona Stevenson, 29, from Little Baddow, in Essex, died just two weeks after buying a new flat in central London.

"She was happy and contented, full of optimism for the future and looking forward to coming home a couple of days later, at the weekend," according to a statement from her parents.

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