Three men have been arrested under the Terrorism Act after a man was killed in a car explosion outside Liverpool Women’s Hospital on Sunday. The passenger died at the scene and has yet to be formally identified, while the male driver sustained injuries.
As UK anti-terror police probe Sunday’s explosion outside Liverpool Women’s Hospital, the taxi driver, who sustained non-life threatening injuries in the incident, is believed to have prevented more fatalities with his swift thinking.
Identified by the Daily Mail as local cab driver David Perry from Kirkdale, a district of Liverpool, the man whose image is being widely circulated on Facebook and Twitter reportedly noticed that his passenger was behaving suspiciously throughout the trip.
“The passenger asked David to go to the cathedral so we believe that was the intended target. But they got stuck in heavy traffic so the passenger asked to go to the hospital instead,” a source was cited by the Mail as saying.
Reference here is apparently made to Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral, which was the site of a Remembrance Day service attended by military personnel, veterans, and civic dignitaries.
Perry is described as having parked the cab outside the maternity ward of Liverpool Women’s Hospital, less than a mile from the reportedly intended target. As he pulled up, the driver allegedly noticed his passenger “had some kind of light attached to his clothing and was messing around with it,” the source is cited as saying.
At that point David Perry is described as having leaped out of the taxi and locked the doors. Moments later, the car exploded. Images widely shared online showed the car in flames and later burnt out.
The cab driver received stitches to his ear and treatment for “non-life threatening” cuts and bruises, and later on Sunday was discharged from hospital.
One person noted on Facebook:
“He’s in a bad, bad way. He’s a fellow driver on delta. He’s had his ear sewn back on, got burns and shrapnel wounds, and other pretty serious injuries.”
Many on social media have hailed the taxi driver as a hero who “put his life on the line” and came close to “paying the ultimate price to save others”.
Counter-Terrorism Police Lead Investigation
According to Merseyside Police, officers were called to Liverpool Women’s Hospital at 10.59am on 14 November. “Unfortunately, we can confirm that one person has died and another has been taken to hospital where he is being treated for his injuries, which thankfully are not life-threatening,” the police force said.
Detectives and army bomb disposal experts are investigating whether the blast was triggered by a suicide bomber, with due attention given to the timing of the incident to Remembrance Sunday, or Poppy Day. Later on Sunday armed police arrested three men, aged 29, 26 and 21, in Sutcliffe Street, near Boaler Street, in the Kensington area of Liverpool as part of a terror probe into the incident.
Counter-terror officers were also reportedly seen at Rutland Avenue in Sefton Park.
“This has not been declared a terrorist incident at this stage although out of caution [counter-terrorism] detectives are leading as we try to understand the circumstances behind the explosion… We are keeping an open mind as to what caused the explosion, but given how it has happened – out of caution – counter terrorism police are leading the investigation supported by Merseyside Police. Our response is ongoing at the hospital and will be for some time,” said Merseyside Police chief constable, Serena Kennedy.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson also made a statement to thank the emergency services for their “quick response and professionalism” and the police for their “ongoing work on the investigation.”
A spokesman for Merseyside Police was cited by the outlet as confirming that a major incident had been declared, but it could take “some time” to confirm what happened, adding: “…Our response is ongoing at the hospital and will be for some time. Cordons are in place, and there are some road closures. We have triggered our information channels – to inform the local community and businesses about what information we do have and can provide.”