Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Nearly three years on... 21/7 recalled
Fifteen people have now either pleaded guilty or been convicted in connection with the failed bomb attacks in London on July 21st, 2005. Among the most recent was Yeshi Girma, below, who was sentenced to 15 years after a jury decided she did know her husband was planning to blow up a London underground train.
The jury also found her guilty of helping her husband, Hussain Osman, escape. Osman fled first to Brighton - the CCTV image below captures him at Brighton station - and then to Rome, where he was eventually caught.
Also convicted was Yeshi's younger sister Mulu. She too was found guilty of helping Osman avoid capture. Among the items shown to the jury during their trial was CCTV footage of Mulu buying newspapers in the days immediately after the failed attack. One of them, seen below, bears the headline, “4 Suicide Bombers on the Loose.” The other paper contains an image of Osman; in a bizarre twist, the CCTV captures Mulu scanning the paper for the latest news on the hunt for the man whose whereabouts she is protecting.
The investigation into the botched bombings was the biggest manhunt in the history of the Met police. For journalists working on the story it was also a big operation...following up dramatic CCTV images of the would-be bombers, or news that another address was being searched in another part of the city.
Every new raid needed to be checked out, though it was rarely clear immediately whether or not it represented a major breakthrough. Time spent outside Curtis House, in north London, for instance, proved useful, as it became clear this was probably the bomb factory. By contrast, time spent on Tooting Broadway, in south London, proved to be wasted, as those addresses turned out to be nothing much at all.
Blair House, below, was raided on the Wednesday, six days after the would-be bombers had struck. One of the suspects, Yassin Omar, had been captured earlier that day up in Birmingham, and there was a definite sense that police might be into the end game.
We found Blair House in Stockwell, south London, part of a small estate built, at a guess, after the second world war. There was a blue plastic tarpaulin over number 40 and a cordon in front of that. Police officers were on duty outside.
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