Heroic Liverpool taxi driver ‘called out for wife’ after bomb attack

·2-min read

A security guard who helped the taxi driver involved in the explosion outside Liverpool Women’s Hospital has said he called out for his wife moments after the attack.

Darren Knowles said he was pumping up the tyres on his car when David Perry’s taxi stopped outside the hospital shortly before 11am on Sunday and exploded moments later.

Police have named Emad Al Swealmeen, 32, who was the passenger in Mr Perry’s taxi and died in the blast, as the suspect in the case.

Liverpool Women’s Hospital incident
An aerial view of the damaged taxi being removed by forensic officers on Wednesday (Peter Byrne/PA)

Officers have previously said the explosive device set off in the car is believed to have been built by Al Swealmeen.

Footage apparently from a CCTV camera on the hospital site that has been shared widely on social media shows the vehicle exploding seconds after pulling up.

A man, believed to be Mr Perry, is seen getting out from the driver’s door and fleeing before being helped by a member of the public wearing a fluorescent vest.

The car then bursts into flames.

Mr Knowles described hearing a “loud bang” believing it was a mechanical failure before seeing Mr Perry rush from the taxi.

He told the Mirror: “He was panicking and screaming, ‘Someone has blown me up. I want my wife’.

“He was trying to tell us, ‘There is a passenger, there is a passenger’.

“I was trying to say to him, ‘Is he still in there’, and he was saying, ‘He has tried to blow me up’.”

Mr Knowles added: “Everyone is calling me a hero but I was just doing my job.

Liverpool Women’s Hospital incident
The Liverpool Women’s Hospital (Peter Byrne/PA)

“My hands were shaking when I realised how close I was to being blown up. But you don’t think, you just do.”

Mr Perry, who has been praised by Prime Minister Boris Johnson for acting with “incredible presence of mind and bravery”, was treated in hospital after fleeing the car just before it burst into flames.

He has since been discharged.

City mayor Joanne Anderson previously suggested that the driver had locked the doors to prevent the passenger escaping.

She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The taxi driver, in his heroic efforts, has managed to divert what could have been an absolutely awful disaster at the hospital.

“Our thanks go to him and our emergency services, and authorities have worked through the night to divert anything further and we’ve all been on standby and in constant contact to provide any support that’s needed.”

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