Belfast Telegraph

New images of IRA's £1bn blitz on London 25 years after attack

By Rebecca Black

Previously unseen images of the devastation caused by an IRA bomb in the heart of London's financial district have been released 25 years on from the explosion.

The Bishopsgate attack killed one man and injured more than 40 others.

Crime scene photographs of the damage were issued by City of London Police to coincide with the anniversary this week.

The attack on the morning of Saturday, April 24, 1993 was linked to the IRA's south Armagh brigade.

News of the World photographer Ed Henty (34) died and 44 others were injured when a one-tonne bomb concealed inside a stolen truck exploded outside 99 Bishopsgate, which was then the Hongkong and Shanghai Bank, in the city's financial district.

The blast spread glass and debris over a wide area and gouged a 15-foot crater in the street.

The 12th century St Ethelburga's church collapsed.

It was rebuilt and reopened as a centre for reconciliation and peace in 2002.

The cost of repairing the damage was estimated at around £1 billion.

City of London Police said the attack completely changed how the area was policed.

To mark the 25th anniversary, it released never-before-seen crime scene photos of the devastation.

PC Joanne Richardson was among the officers on duty on the day and was showered in glass.

"There was a little shop in front of me and the window blew in and I got thrown into a doorway," she said.

"I felt this immediate pain in my right eye. I remember having my hand over my eye and being scared to look.

"I knew there was something in there.

"When I looked down, my white shirt was filthy, my face was filthy, everything was filthy.

"Everything from the ground had been blown up and thrown into my face.

"I was off work for three to four weeks but it's the emotional and psychological effects that stay with you for a lot longer. If I heard a car backfiring or a roll of thunder for a good couple of years I was a little bit jittery to say the least."

Detective Superintendent Dermot Robinson, who is the current head of counter-terrorism for the City of London Police, said the Bishopsgate bomb changed the face of policing for the force. "It's remarkable to see how we've come full circle with our tactics and how decisions made in the 90s are reflected in some of our most successful initiatives today," he said.

"Project Servator is an excellent example of how we still look to deter terrorists from entering the City by using both plain-clothed officers skilled in behaviour-detection techniques and a very large and visible police presence."

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