London bombing inquest clears security services of `lapses`

The July 2005 bombings were the worst terrorist attacks on British soil.

Updated: May 07, 2011, 00:31 AM IST

London: No organisation`s failings contributed to the deaths of 52 people in suicide bombings on the London transit system in 2005, a judge ruled on Friday — a verdict that will disappoint the families of some of the victims.

Giving her verdict at an inquest, Judge Heather Hallett said the commuters were "unlawfully killed in a dreadful act of terrorism" by four al Qaeda-inspired bombers.

The July 07, 2005 bombings of three subway trains and a bus were the worst terrorist attacks on British soil.

In Britain, inquests are fact-finding inquiries held whenever a person dies violently or under unusual circumstances. They can`t establish civil or criminal liability, but their recommendations to prevent future deaths carry considerable weight.

Hallett praised the "quiet dignity" of the victims` families, who have sat through graphic and detailed accounts of how their loved ones died during the months-long inquest, which heard evidence form more than 300 witnesses.

Some families want the intelligence and emergency services to take some blame for the deaths.

Britain`s domestic intelligence service had two of the bombers under surveillance but failed to stop the attacks.

The hearings also revealed failures in the emergency response — confusion, shortages of first aid supplies and radios that did not work underground.

But Hallett said no "failings on the part of any organisation or individual caused or contributed to any of the deaths."

"I am satisfied on the balance of probabilities that each of them would have died whatever time the emergency services had reached and rescued them," she said.

Some victims` families say only a full public inquiry can uncover all the details of the attacks, but Hallett said that would not be necessary. She said the inquest had been thorough and she hoped this would not be an end to the investigation.

Bureau Report