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Gran's anger at lack of action after teen missed Derry bomb by 'seconds'

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A car bomb exploding outside the court house on Bishop Street in Londonderry in January (PSNI/PA)

A car bomb exploding outside the court house on Bishop Street in Londonderry in January (PSNI/PA)

Press Association Images

A car bomb exploding outside the court house on Bishop Street in Londonderry in January (PSNI/PA)

The grandmother of a teenage girl who walked past Londonderry's courthouse seconds before a bomb exploded has said she's angry nobody has been brought to justice for the attack.

Shelly McAleer's granddaughter was filmed on CCTV walking along Bishop Street with friends shortly before the car bomb exploded outside the courthouse on January 19 2019.

Police received a warning shortly before the explosion, with a group calling itself "the IRA" later accepting responsibility .

Days after the bombing, the PSNI released CCTV footage that showed the group of young people. including Mrs McAleer's granddaughter, passing the car shortly before it exploded in the city centre street.

Officers described it as a “miracle” and “sheer luck” no one was harmed.

A number of men arrested in connection with the incident were later released without charge.

Mrs McAleer expressed her anger that nobody has been brought to justice over the incident.

"She was going with friends in mixed company, it wasn't just Catholics or all Protestants, they were all mixed and they would never have questioned religion, but they were going to one of the friend's house," she told BBC Radio Foyle.

"It was bad timing on their part. They missed the explosions by seconds, literally be seconds."

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The aftermath of a bomb attack outside Derry Courthouse. Credit: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

The aftermath of a bomb attack outside Derry Courthouse. Credit: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

Mrs McAleer described watching the CCTV footage of her granddaughter walking past shortly before the explosion as "awful".

"A complete nightmare, but thank God we are the other side where we can say she's safe, it could have went the other way. It could have been the last moments of her life," she said.

The Derry grandmother said the attack should not just be forgotten about.

"It just sort of went into the background, as if it never happened. I'd like to think that would be nipped in the head, that we're not going down that road. It was awful, just awful, but its disappeared, but we still have to remember that was in recent times," Mrs McAleer said.

Mrs McAleer's comments were echoed by Jenni Doherty who runs Little Acorns Bookstore near Bishop Street. She was in the shop on the night the bomb exploded.

She said that the bomb caused her to drop what she was holding, although she didn't immediately realise the extent of the blast.

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Aftermath of the car bomb in Londonderry in January

Aftermath of the car bomb in Londonderry in January

�Lorcan Doherty

"There was an almighty bang and at first, you know, I recognised the sound, but I couldn't place what it was, it was like when you smell something and you know it, but you can't place from where," Mrs Doherty explained.

"It was only when my phone started going crazy with texts that I was aware that something had happened. I thought 'oh my god', between where I work and where I live is a three minute walk, if I'd left three minutes prior to when I tried to leave I don't want to think what could have been.

"I live up near the courthouse and I think 'could something happen again?' I wish there was someone brought to justice. I'm sure there's people who know who's responsible or who put those up to it and I keep thinking of those teenagers walking up the street, that could have been six, seven funerals."

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