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7/7 inquest: stories of remarkable courage

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Guy Smith | 18:40 UK time, Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Although five years ago, the rawness and horror of the event still plays in the minds of those who were injured and survived.

We've heard some members of the emergency services weep as they recall what they saw in the carriages at Aldgate and Edgware Road.

Here's an example. Last week we listened to Metropolitan Police officer PC David Hill. He clearly remembers that morning.

He was on patrol on Victoria Embankment as part of a three-man Diplomatic Protection team.

Messages started coming over the radio, suggesting there'd been an explosion at Aldgate. They then started to hear about Edgware Road.

Within five minutes, they'd arrived at the station. Many passengers were coming out, saying people had died and were wounded.

Despite concerns about a secondary device, he went down into the tunnel. At this point, PC Hill paused during his evidence, choking back tears. He then recalled seeing the body of a woman on the track.

It was 24-year-old Jennifer Nicholson. He said he wanted to cover her up but had to get into the bombed carriage.

There he found badly injured David Gardner. He was bleeding heavily. He'd lost a leg.

PC Hill and another passenger saved his life with a tourniquet and makeshift bandages. He recalled being worried about how long it was taking for more help to arrive.

After he left the tunnel, PC Hill changed his bloodied shirt and went back on patrol to finish to his shift.

The coroner Lady Justice Hallett commended him for his bravery and dedication, saying: "Don't feel in any way embarrassed about showing signs of distress. You would not be human if you did not feel distress at having to relive what you saw that day."

This week, we come to the end of the evidence for Edgware Road.

The focus will turn to the Piccadilly Line train at Russell Square/Kings Cross which took the heaviest number of casualties: 26 people died.

And then Tavistock Square where 13 people lost their lives.

At each location, we hear the families give the coroner a short biography of their father, brother, mother, or sister.

It provides not just a profound insight in to how much each one was loved, but also that each one was an individual who had hopes, dreams and still so much to live for.

Of all the stories we've encountered in the first few weeks, whether that's small details of fellow passengers holding hands in the dark or a jacket put over a dead body to preserve their dignity, one remarkable man stands out.

John Taylor lost his 24-year-old daughter Carrie at Aldgate. All the other bereaved families have had barristers to question witnesses from the emergency services on how they handled the aftermath of the suicide bombing.

Yet every day for four weeks, John, a security guard, decided to do it himself.

He believes the bombings could have been avoided if the security services had continued to keep their eye on the bombers' ringleader Mohammed Siddique Khan.

MI5 had him under surveillance 17 months before July 7th.

We'll be hearing from them early next year.


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