UK

7/7 Tube driver raised alarm on own mobile phone

Timothy Batkin
Image caption The inquests at the Royal Courts of Justice into 52 deaths are expected to last five months

A Tube driver whose train was blown up by one of the 7 July bombers raised the alarm using his mobile phone as his radio was not working.

Timothy Batkin said he had checked with passengers on the Aldgate train if they had a mobile phone signal.

He told the inquest into the 2005 atrocities that the cries for help still made his "blood run cold".

Station supervisor Celia Harrison said there were no trained first aiders working on the day of the bombings.

'Chilling cry'

Mr Batkin had only been working as a London Underground driver for about a year before suicide bomber Shehzad Tanweer detonated his bomb on an eastbound circle line train, killing seven, near Aldgate station.

He said he felt a shockwave and the train came to a sudden halt as a passenger alarm was pulled.

When he tried to make a mayday call to his line controller, he found his radio was not working and he did not think to use a second tunnel telephone.

CLICKABLE Find out more about the victims of the Aldgate bomb attack.

Lee Baisden Richard Gray Anne Moffat Benedetta Ciaccia Richard Ellery Fiona Stevenson Carrie Taylor

Lee Baisden

Lee Baisden

Age: 34

Mr Baisden was standing right next to the bomber Shehzad Tanweer. The accountant worked for the London Fire & Emergency Planning Authority and had recently set up home with his boyfriend, but also spent a lot of time looking after his widowed mother.
He travelled to Liverpool Street from Romford, Essex, and got on the Circle line through Aldgate on his way to work in Westminster.

Richard Gray

Richard Gray

Age: 41

Mr Gray was a tax accountant who commuted to London from Ipswich. He was married with two children. One friend described him as "a gentleman of modest disposition, charm, courtesy and subtle humour and above all he was a family man". Mr Gray was standing opposite Shehzad Tanweer.

Anne Moffat

Anne Moffat

Age: 48

Anne Moffat was head of marketing and communications for Girlguiding UK. She was standing in the middle of the carriage between both sets of doors, close to the bomber. She commuted from Harlow, Essex, to her office in Victoria.
A colleague Muriel Dunn said: "Her loss is a terrible tragedy and she will be greatly missed."

Benedetta Ciaccia

Benedetta Ciaccia

Age: 30

The Italian-born business analyst was preparing for her wedding when she was killed at Aldgate. She was standing in the carriageway opposite the bomber and the evidence indicates she died instantly. Her fiancé, Fiaz Bhatti, spent a week on London's streets with a homemade missing person poster, hoping she may have survived.

Richard Ellery

Richard Ellery

Age: 21

Mr Ellery had recently started working for Jessops Cameras in Ipswich and was in London for a training course. First aiders tried unsuccessfully to save him at the scene. His father, brother and flatmate searched for him in London, until his death was confirmed. The family said he had been "a fun loving boy, full of enthusiasm for life".

Fiona Stevenson

Fiona Stevenson

Age: 29

Miss Stevenson was a lawyer on her way to Hammersmith Magistrates Court. Her firm described her as "hard-working, conscientious and supremely able", driven by her determination to represent the weak. She grew up in the Chelmsford area and had friends around the world. Her family said she was passionate about human rights and wanted to work for the United Nations.

Carrie Taylor

Lee Baisden

Age: 24

Miss Taylor was on her way to work at the RSA. She commuted from Billericay, Essex, with her mother. June Taylor said they would always kiss goodbye at Liverpool Street. Then Miss Taylor would turn and wave until out of view. "I'm so very glad that the last picture I have of her is smiling and waving at me," Mrs Taylor said.

He eventually raised the alarm by calling a colleague at Edgware Road using his own mobile phone before helping to evacuate up to 500 passengers.

Speaking at the Royal Courts of Justice, he said: "The passengers on the train, I could hear crying for help. It was a chilling, haunting cry for help.

"Something that still makes my blood run cold when I think about hearing it."

The inquest heard Mr Batkin touched together two copper wires running along the Tube tunnel wall to shut off the power so that passengers could walk to Aldgate station safely.

The wires could also be attached to a telephone carried in every driver's cab and used to contact the line controller, but he did not do this.

'Health and safety'

Mr Batkin said he had not been trained in first aid or what kind of information to give to senior colleagues in a suspected bombing or similar emergency.

He said he first realised it had been an explosion when he saw passengers who had made their way to the front of the train.

"When they reached me I could see their faces were blackened with soot and dirt and bloodied," he said. "And their clothes were torn and shredded."

Image caption Mrs Harrison was one of the station supervisors at Aldgate on 7 July

Celia Harrison, a senior member of staff at Aldgate station, said she suspected an explosion had taken place as soon as she saw smoke at about 0850 BST.

She said she did not initially share her thoughts with the network control centre because she did not want to "panic the situation".

When asked to recall the situation 20 minutes later, she said there were no paramedics on the track.

The inquest was told there was a small first aid box in the station office but this was mainly for staff who had hurt themselves.

Mrs Harrison said although there was a "legal requirement" to have a certain proportion of first aiders to staff, none were on duty on 7 July.

She added she did not send anyone down to the platform because of "health and safety", but several colleagues went anyway.

'Help me'

A survivor told the inquest the only people she saw on the tracks were two London Underground workers, and she could not understand why firefighters were standing around at the station.

Lawyer Melanie O'Dell said: "We asked: 'Why aren't you going down there? There are people injured and dying down there'.

"Eventually one of them answered. He said: 'Oh, there may be a secondary device down there. There may be a second bomb'."

"At the time I wondered and I still wonder, how long do you wait? When do you decide it is safe if there is no-one down there?" she added.

The inquest heard from another lawyer, who had been working on the London 2012 Olympic bid, about how she was blown from the Tube carriage.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionLawyer Thelma Stober was not supposed to be in work on 7 July

Thelma Stober, who lost part of her leg and suffered hearing damage in the blast, said she was only heading into work because the city had won the Games the previous day.

Weeping throughout her testimony at the inquest, she said: "I thought of my son who was seven years old and, silly enough, I thought I wanted to continue my work on the Olympics."

She told the inquest that as she lay on the tracks, she saw people coming towards the train.

"I put my hand up saying, 'help me, help me, I don't want to die'," she said.

Mrs Stober, a senior member of the London Development Agency (LDA), the mayor's chief regeneration agency, recalled lifting someone's hand from her head but not turning around to help him.

"He was lying there not moving. I assumed he was dead. But I could have held his hand and I didn't," she said.

Counsel to the inquest Hugo Keith QC told her there was nothing she could have done for the man.

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