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'IRA snatched my life away'

Harrods bomb victim’s emotional account at Libya Semtex hearings

By Lesley-Anne McKeown

Published 29/10/2015

The scene outside Harrods in London in 1983 after two blasts, one outside and another inside the store, left dozens dead and injured
The scene outside Harrods in London in 1983 after two blasts, one outside and another inside the store, left dozens dead and injured

A woman who was blown up in an IRA bomb attack on Harrods more than 30 years ago has told MPs her life was "snatched away" by the terrorists.

Mina Jadeja choked back tears as she told a parliamentary inquiry how she struggles to cope with the physical and mental injuries suffered on December 17, 1983. She said: "I face one crisis after another on a daily basis."

Ms Jadeja had taken her two young nephews to see Santa at the Knightsbridge store and was just metres away when the Morris Minor car exploded killing three police officers and three members of the public.

She described being showered in debris and glass and remembers bleeding heavily while trying to shield her nephews.

"This act of crime has had a very detrimental and negative impact on my life whether it is emotional, physical, psychological, financial and in fact I feel like my life has been snatched away," Ms Jadeja said.

"It has totally collapsed and hit rock bottom as I live in excruciating pain most days because of the injuries sustained in this incident. I face one crisis after another on a daily basis. I struggle to cope even with painkillers.

"Anger, disappointment, frustration, helplessness, low moods are just some of the emotions that I feel.

"A career-minded girl in her mid-20s holding down two jobs with set future jobs, I am unable to work even though I have re-trained myself twice to be employable. I have spent many years of sleeplessness and in pain in my four walls and it felt like it has been a jail while the perpetrators walk freely and I feel perhaps without remorse."

Ms Jadeja was giving evidence to the Northern Ireland affairs select committee which is examining the role of the Government in seeking compensation for the victims of IRA attacks made possible by the provision of Semtex and other weapons by the former Gaddafi regime.

It is the first time she has spoken publicly about her ordeal.

Ms Jadeja, who was treated in the same hospital ward as US victims, some of whom have received millions of pounds in compensation from the Libyan authorities, said it was "unjust" that UK victims were being "ignored".

The committee is examining whether millions of pounds in frozen assets could be used to compensate victims.

At least £900m of Gaddafi's huge fortune has been frozen in the UK since around 2011 and the inquiry has previously heard that an Act of Parliament could release it to those bereaved and injured in IRA bombs.

Susanne Dodd, whose police officer father Stephen Dodd (34), was killed, claimed the Government has failed victims.

She said: "It is totally disgraceful by the UK government, not helping us on this." Ms Dodd also requested a meeting with the Prime Minister David Cameron to discuss the issue.

Independent MP Lady Sylvia Hermon described the testimony as "profoundly moving". She said: "It is regrettable that your voices have not been heard before now." And DUP MP Ian Paisley said: "Your voices have been meek, your manners have been mild but your message has been mighty."

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