Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Bravery of Police at Soho Pub Blast Is Honoured; OFFICERS TELL OF PANDEMONIUM THAT FOLLOWED ADMIRAL DUNCAN NAIL BOMB

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Bravery of Police at Soho Pub Blast Is Honoured; OFFICERS TELL OF PANDEMONIUM THAT FOLLOWED ADMIRAL DUNCAN NAIL BOMB

Article excerpt

Byline: VALENTINE LOW

FIVE police officers have been honoured for their bravery in the aftermath of the Admiral Duncan pub bomb in Soho which killed three people, including a pregnant woman, and injured 70.

Pcs Neil Scotney, Ian Harris, Robert Doe and Alex Burns, and Sergeant John Baldock, have been awarded the Commissioner's High Commendation after one of the worst terrorist incidents in a public building in Britain since the IRA bombing campaign.

Today Pc Scotney - who was the first officer at the scene of the bombing on 30 April 1999 - and Sergeant Baldock told of the devastation that greeted them.

It had been a warm Friday night and people were sitting drinking on the pavements outside the pubs and cafes.

Pc Scotney said: "As I walked down Dean Street and got to the junction with Old Compton Street I heard this mighty explosion. I turned round to look, and saw this big plume of smoke coming from the Admiral Duncan pub."

The blast was the climax of a wave of attacks by nail bomber David Copeland, who was later convicted of murder and sentenced to six terms of life imprisonment.

Pc Scotney, 34, who had not been in the job long and had spent only 10 weeks on the streets, arrived to see devastation as people ran into the street screaming and people lay on the ground with terrible injuries.

"It was just pandemonium," he said. "It was a gruesome sight - it was like watching a horror movie.

You could literally see people with limbs blown off."

He immediately knew it was a bomb and raised the alarm, but it seemed to him "an eternity" before anyone else got there - even though he knew it was only minutes.

"People were panicking, some were in a daze, some were running away. I ran towards the Admiral Duncan and started to clear away the people who were closest - if there was a secondary device there might have been more casualties.

"I remember pouring with sweat. It was a draining experience - mentally, physically, emotionally."

Sgt Baldock, 47, remembers racing to the scene in his car and then running the last 100 yards because the street was crowded with people fleeing the scene. …

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