'My head was on fire': Parsons Green bomb victim describes moment fireball ripped through train

The bomb failed to explode fully but passengers were left injured by a fireball inside the train (Rex)

Parsons Green bomb victims have described a fireball ripping through their Tube train, melting clothes, singeing hair and causing terrible burns.

Some 93 passengers ducked for cover and scrambled to get off the District line train after a wall of flames engulfed their carriage during the rush hour on September 15 last year.

CCTV footage showed a crowd dashing for the stairs on the platform, leaving bags and purses behind on the floor where a bucket inside a Lidl bag continued to burn.

Moments earlier, men and women had been packed into the Edgware Road-bound train, sipping cups of takeaway coffee, completely unaware of the danger.

One woman described the moment she realised her head was on fire before a fellow passenger carried her to safety.


Ann Stuart said her hands, face and mouth were left “scalded”, her hair singed and eyes needed to be washed out.

Ms Stuart said: “What I saw was this flash and whoosh that came up from my side.

“I feel my reactions were very slow.

“I stood up, swore and realised that my head was on fire. My hands were hot. I took a couple of steps forward. There was a lady on the floor and people were rushing.

The fire bomb on the train. (Sky News)

“I just grabbed my bag. My hair was smoking. I patted myself out and got off the train and this man picked me up and held me.

“I just said to him ‘get me off this platform’. He shouted to everybody to get out of the way and they just parted. I heard someone say ‘oh my God’.

Court artist sketch of Ahmed Hassan Mohammed Ali, 18 (PA Images)

Teenage asylum seeker Ahmed Hassan, 18, had left the bomb containing 400g of explosives and shrapnel on the floor, having got off one stop earlier, his Old Bailey trial heard.

He sat in the dock with his head bowed as passengers gave their accounts of the horrifying blast and its aftermath.

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Commuter Stephen Nash told jurors he was reading a newspaper, “oblivious” to what was going on, when there was a “blinding flash” and he was “engulfed in flames”.

He said: “I was thrown to the ground. The flames were overwhelming. It was intense heat. I thought I had lost my ears. I thought my head was on fire.

A woman comforted by police after the explosion at Parsons Green (Reuters)

“I was knocked out so I woke up on the carriage floor and it was a matter of seconds. Just as I got to the doors, the doors started to close. It was a little bit scary.”

Retired counter-terrorism officer Alex Beavan said: “I heard a huge popping sound. Looking towards the direction of the sound, I saw a rolling fireball coming over the ceiling at the back of the train.

“Everything goes in slow motion. There was a woman. I could see her realise what was happening and she began screaming and some men were shouting ‘Run’.”

Mr Beavan told jurors it was “chaos” and he decided to “take cover” behind a wall, thinking there might be a second wave of the attack.


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