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July 7 terror attack victims call for public inquiry

PUBLISHED: 13:59 07 September 2007 | UPDATED: 14:37 07 September 2010

Susanna Wilkey VICTIMS whose lives were turned upside down by the London bombings are taking legal action against the Home Secretary in a bid to secure a public inquiry. The action comes after the government s refusal to launch an independent and public i

Susanna Wilkey

VICTIMS whose lives were turned upside down by the London bombings are taking legal action against the Home Secretary in a bid to secure a public inquiry.

The action comes after the government's refusal to launch an independent and public investigation into the events surrounding the bombings which killed 52 people and injured hundreds.

The victims want to ensure lessons are learned from the tragedy, to make the struggle against terrorism more effective and secure proper accountability.

Danny Biddle, who lost both legs in the Edgware Road bomb, appeared on Channel Five on Monday supporting the call.

"This is the worst terror attack ever in London - if that doesn't require a public inquiry, what does?

"I think the government has a lot to answer for. Let's have an independent inquiry. I cannot believe they went to war in Iraq and did not think about the consequences.

"I have got to live my life suffering the consequences of a decision of our government."

And Marylebone resident John Falding, who lost his girlfriend Anat Rosenberg in the Tavistock Square bus explosion, is totally behind the action.

He said: "Everyone is of a like mind and I am totally behind this campaign. I think it is definitely the right thing to do.

"The government originally said the bombers weren't previously known and were clean skins.

"Then we found out that they were very much on the radar of the security services with the convicted fertiliser bombers.

"The government has been seeking to avoid embarrassment all the time and trying to fob us off with various separate reports but without the findings of those reports being put together.

"Nothing works in isolation. They think that they have learned all the lessons to be learned but we do not know that because these things haven't been scrutinised properly.

"Whenever there has been a major loss of life like a train crash the knee jerk reaction is, 'we'll have a public inquiry'.

"So I can't understand why this is any different and why they are against an inquiry this time.

"They come up with excuses like it will cost too much and would tie up too many intelligence officers at a time when they should be hunting terrorists as if it is our fault - like that is what we want.

"I think that the real reason is because the embarrassment of the fact they took their eye off the ball and it was preventable so that is a problem and inevitably one suspects that there is a lot more dirty washing out there.

"There has never been in all those reports any addressing of the difference it might have made had they not cut the fire brigade cover in central London. The government is trying to avoid answering any questions. The bombers say it had a lot to do with Iraq so they cannot deny that either."

The victims are being represented by Oury Clark Solicitors free of charge and have been forced into litigation because of a failure by the government to respond to a letter calling for talks.

The solicitors had hoped the government would reply before last Thursday but now the victims group says it has reluctantly entered into court proceedings to ensure lessons are learned for the future.

James Oury, senior partner at Oury Clark, said: "The government's position has resulted in a group of still-suffering victims of this public tragedy being manoeuvred into a litigation arena so not to be further disadvantaged.

"Our clients are disappointed and saddened by this. Their obviously preferred position was not to enter into litigation.

"However, they recognise the wider public interest involved and the international importance of finding out the truth of events leading up to these July 7 2005 bombings.

"They also feel an inquiry is a matter of essential public interest in order to improve the protection of all individuals whose lives remain at risk as a result of the ongoing threat of terrorism.

"The Home Secretary and the government could stop the litigation process now by ordering the independent and public enquiry that my clients consider that the victims and the public deserve."

The case should reach court in October.

FACTFILE

A total of 52 people were killed in the July 7 bombings on the London Underground when Hasib Hussain, Mohammad Sidique Khan, Germaine Lindsay, and Shehzad Tanweer blew themselves up.

Six died at the bombing in Edgware Road when the ringleader Khan triggered a bomb in his rucksack.

Standing next to him was Danny Biddle who was thrown from the carriage, cracking his skull on the tunnel wall. He rebounded onto the track and watched in horror as the train doors landed on his legs, virtually severing them. He lost his legs, an eye and his spleen in the tragic incident and spent a year in hospital recovering. But he only received £118,000 in compensation.

A report after the tragedy exposed major failings in the emergency services' equipment and procedures.

susannah.wilkey@hamhigh.co.uk

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