Liverpool hospital bomber was killed by ‘murderous’ device he created, coroner rules

·3-min read
Emad Al Swealmeen died in the blast  (.)
Emad Al Swealmeen died in the blast (.)

The Liverpool Women’s Hospital bomber died from the explosion and fire caused by the improvised device he created, a coroner has ruled.

Iraqi-born Emad Al Swealmeen manufactured the bomb with “murderous intent” before setting it off in a taxi outside the hospital just before 11am on Remembrance Sunday.

The driver, David Perry, survived the blast, captured on hospital CCTV.

Andre Rebello, senior coroner at Liverpool and Wirral Coroner’s Court, said the explosive device was made at a flat rented by Al Swealmeen in Rutland Avenue in the city’s Sefton Park area.

The inquest also heard that Al Swealmeen rang his brother two days before the incident and suggested he might do “something bad”.

Mr Rebello said: “Towards the end of call Emad said something like ‘if I do something bad that will affect the family what do you think?’

“He replied something like ‘don’t do s***’, advising him as an older brother, although this was something which caused him concern, knowing his previous issues.”

The explosion occurred outside Liverpool Women’s Hospital just before 11am on November 1 (PA Wire)
The explosion occurred outside Liverpool Women’s Hospital just before 11am on November 1 (PA Wire)

He said Al Swealmeen, born in Baghdad, Iraq, had been in prison in the Middle East for a serious assault on another person, as well as being in trouble in Liverpool previously for possession of an offensive weapon.

Al Swealmeen came to the UK legally in May 2014 with a Jordanian passport and UK visa, the inquest was told. Shortly after his arrival he claimed he was a Syrian refugee, Mr Rebello said.

All subsequent claims for asylum were refused, with the latest refusal in November 2020.

Detective Chief Inspector Andrew Meeks, the senior investigating officer in the case, was asked whether Al Swealmeen may have converted from Islam to Christianity to strengthen his asylum claim.

Mr Meeks said: “I’d agree with that because he would claim he’d be liable to persecution on return to Syria or Iraq.”

The inquest heard Emad Al Swealmeen was resident at premises provided by the Home Office in Sutcliffe Street, in the Kensington area of Liverpool, but since April 2021 had rented a self-contained flat in Rutland Avenue, where he paid the rent monthly in cash.

Detective Chief Inspector Andrew Meeks confirmed it was accurate to describe the Rutland Avenue address as a “bomb-making factory”.

There was no evidence to suggest anyone else had been involved with the procurement of materials or construction of the device but investigations were continuing, Mr Meeks said.

Financial investigations showed a number of purchases took place between March 2020 and November this year consistent with the purchase of materials likely to be used in the manufacture of improvised firearms or homemade explosives, the inquest heard.

The inquest was told taxi driver David Perry drove to the hospital and stopped outside the front entrance, where the bomb was detonated.

Mr Rebello said: “David described pressing on the brakes, coming to a slow stop. As the vehicle stopped, suddenly it felt like a wagon had crashed into the back of the car and he said he was thrown forwards and blacked out for a couple of seconds.”

He said when Mr Perry became conscious again he felt burning to his back.

“He could see smoke and smell burning plastic and the smell of burning body and thought ‘I’m dead if I don’t get out’,” Mr Rebello said.

Mr Perry managed to escape the car and staggered out, and a man wearing a high-vis jacket came to him, the inquest heard.

Detective Chief Inspector Andrew Meeks confirmed Al Swealmeen was not on the radar of security services.

Mr Rebello said: “It just shows how everyone needs to be very vigilant about anything of this nature with regard to nipping anything in the bud.”

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