A coroner has cleared British security services of any responsibility in the deaths of 52 people in the 2005 London suicide bombings, rejecting calls for a full public inquiry into the worst ever terrorist attacks on British soil.
REUTERS - A coroner formally ruled on Friday that the 52 victims of the 2005 London suicide bombings were unlawfully killed, but cleared the security and rescue services of any responsibility for the deaths.
Lady Justice Heather Hallett also ruled out any more inquests or inquiries into the worst-ever peacetime attacks on British soil.
She said the evidence presented to inquests over the past 5-1/2 months “does not justify the conclusion that any failings of any organisation or individual caused or contributed to the deaths.”
All medical and scientific evidence pointed to the conclusion that none of the 52 dead would have survived, even if emergency services had got to them more quickly, she added.
“I’m satisfied on balance of probabilities that each victim would have died whatever time the emergency services had arrived,” she said.
Hallett said however she was making recommendations which “may save lives” in the future.
Many of the victims’ families had called for a full public inquiry into the bombings to establish whether the police and domestic security service, MI5, could have stopped them.
But Hallett said she believed that the hearings had sufficiently and painstakingly examined highly sensitive MI5 material relating to the occasions when the bombers came onto the security agencies’ radar before the attacks.
“To my mind, the concerns that I would not be able to conduct a thorough and fair investigation into the security issues in wholly open evidential proceedings have proved unfounded,” she said.
The inquest at London’s High Court heard how the victims had been killed during an “unimaginably dreadful wave of horror”. Four British Islamists—Mohammad Sidique Khan, 30, Shehzad Tanweer, 22, Hasib Hussain, 18, and Jermaine Lindsay, 19, -- detonated bombs on three packed underground trains and a bus in the morning rush hour on July 7, 2005.
As well as killing themselves and the 52 others, they injured over 700 people.
The inquests—which had to wait until all criminal trials of alleged associates of the bombers had ended—were the first public examination of the blasts and the events leading up to them.
A spokesman for 10 of the 30 families involved said they were satisfied with the proceedings.
“Many have sat through highly graphic ... accounts of the last moments of their loved ones’ lives and the details surrounding the responses of all the various emergency services immediately following the explosions,” he said in a statement.
“Whilst the sometimes traumatic proceedings will not bring back their loved ones, all involved have been united in their concern to ensure that the horror they have had to face is avoided wherever possible in the future.
“They have expressed their satisfaction with the process...”
Date created : 2011-05-06