Detectives investigating the attempted bombing of the Liverpool Women’s Hospital have released several updates regarding the ongoing investigation into what could have been a potentially devastating attack.
On Remembrance Sunday (14th November) – just before 11:00 hours, Al Swealmeen took a cab from his ‘bomb making factory’ in Rutland Avenue to the Liverpool Women’s Hospital, which houses one of the largest maternity units in Europe.
CCTV captures the moment when the taxi pulls up outside the address, and what is now believed to have been a detonator is activated.
Police now understand that the central part of the ball-bearing packed bomb did not go off and instead, just the detonator was initiated.
There has been a suggestion that the detonator was activated accidentally – possibly from the cab’s motion stopping outside the main entrance to the maternity unit.
Assistant Chief Constable Russ Jackson, Head of Counter-Terrorism Police North West said:
“We continue to make significant progress in relation to the CT Incident at the Liverpool Women’s Hospital.
“Officers spoke with the brother of Al Swealmeen yesterday evening and this has given us an insight into his early years and an understanding of Al Swealmeen’s life and his recent state of mind which is an important line of investigation. We are grateful for members of the public who knew him and have contacted us.
“Although there is much scientific work to do on the device to determine what made it up, we have learned a great deal over the past five days.
“It was made using homemade explosive and had ball bearings attached to it which would have acted as shrapnel.
“Had it detonated in different circumstances we believe it would have caused significant injury or death.
“We still do not know how or why the device exploded when it did, but we are not discounting it being completely unintentional, and it is a possibility that the movement of the vehicle or its stopping caused the ignition.
“We are spending considerable time seeking to understand the way the purchases for the ingredients to make the device were made.
“This is complicated because purchases have spanned many months and Al Swealmeen has used many aliases.
“We are confident however that in time we will get a full picture of what purchases were made and how, and if anyone else was involved or knew what Al Swealmeen was up to.
“We have found no connection between this incident and the terrible events of Manchester in May 2017. The device was also different to the one used in the Manchester Arena Attack.
“The investigation is still moving at a very fast pace and will continue into the weekend and the coming weeks.”
“At this time we are not finding any link to others in the Merseyside area of concern but this remains a fast moving investigation and as more becomes known we cannot rule out action against others.”
In a statement released earlier in the week, Liverpool Women’s Hospital Chief Executive, Kathryn Thomson, said:
“The last two days have been extremely upsetting and traumatising for everyone associated with Liverpool Women’s.
“I’d firstly like to say thank you to our patients and visitors for your co-operation and patience during this time. We know that it has been a very traumatic experience for you and we appreciate your understanding and support to allow us, working with others in the community, to manage this incident appropriately and safely.
“I am so proud to be Chief Executive of Liverpool Women’s Hospital and to have so many brave and dedicated colleagues who have worked during the most upsetting of circumstances to keep our patients safe – in particular, the members of staff and public who were first at the scene of the incident and came to people’s aide.
“Thank you also to Merseyside Police, Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service and all other emergency services and agencies who have supported the Trust throughout this incident and helped to keep everyone safe.
“We would like to send our best wishes to the taxi driver who was involved in the incident and wish him a speedy recovery – Liverpool Women’s is thinking of you.
“As a Trust we have been so grateful for the messages of solidarity and support at this difficult time from everyone across the city, the country, and beyond. We have lost count of the kind messages of support we have received and we want to say thank you for being with us.
“We will be continuing to work with Merseyside Police and other agencies as part of this ongoing investigation and therefore we would appreciate that our staff, patients and visitors continue to be given respect and space during the period ahead. Please also be kind to one another at this difficult time.
“We are pleased to say that despite the understandable continued security and Police presence on our site at the moment, our services are back to running as close to normal as can be expected, allowing us to do what we do best which is looking after our women, babies and families at Liverpool Women’s.
“Therefore, unless you are advised otherwise you should continue to attend the hospital as normal and our teams will ensure you get the care and support you need.
“Thank you again for your continued heartfelt support, it means so much to everyone at Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust.”
Anyone who has any information should call on 0161 856 1027 quoting Liverpool Women’s Hospital incident.
Details can be passed to the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
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