We remember... Brixton Bombing - 17 April 1999

By The Ligali Organisation | Mon 17 April 2006

We Remember... Brixton Bombing

On 17 April 1999, David Copeland launched a terrorist attack on the African community in Brixton. Using a series of nail bombs to kill and injure hundreds, he attempted to create a bloody ‘racial’ war on the streets of London.

Copeland had placed the bomb inside a holdall near the bus stop outside the Iceland store. At around 5pm community members became suspicious of the unattended bag and suspecting it may be a bomb moved it away from the stalls and onto some wooden pallets. Observing this, Copeland walked back up to the bag, removed the bombs which were contained inside two boxes and placed them onto some wooden pallets at the side of Iceland in Electric Avenue. A police car driving in the vicinity was immediately flagged down.

At 5.26 pm as police officers on the scene were talking to bystanders, Iceland security guard Aiah Menjor put concern of his own safety aside, heroically acting as a human shield whilst leading shoppers to safety. When the devices exploded over one and a half thousand nails of various sizes flew from the bomb like lethal bullets. The lives of dozens of African people were undoubtedly saved by Aiah Menjor taking the full brunt of the blast.

Fortunately no-one was killed, but many of the injuries caused by the explosion were very severe. Some penetrated the bodywork of vehicles parked in the vicinity, others caused multiple lacerations, embedding themselves in the bodies of over forty people. Two people lost their left eye, some suffered a temporary hearing lost due to receiving perforated eardrums, there were fractures to the legs, feet and ankles, one person suffered severe damage to his facial nerve another had three nails in his leg, one at the end of his penis, and more in his bottom, ribs, arm and head. However the most iconic injury was that of the horrific nail embedded in the skull of a 23 month old child. The nail had penetrated into the outer layer of his brain. Miraculously he survived.

Following this attack Copeland detonated bombs in Brick Lane and Soho targeting both Asians and those that practice same sex relationships. As a result of his terrorist campaign Andrea Dykes, John Light, and Nicholas Moore tragically lost their lives, and overall 139 innocent people suffered appalling injuries including extensive burns and leg amputations”.

Copeland was caught after being identified in various CCTV footage shown in a public appeal. Ironically the anti-African government and police maintained that Brixton was a hotbed of African criminality, as a result the area was heavily covered by a network of CCTV spying cameras. Copeland's family remained silent as his workmate, Paul Mifsud contacted the Police when he recognised him.

Copeland admitted three charges of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility following the three London nail-bombs but the prosecution refused to accept the pleas because Copeland had admitted to planning the bombing campaign for several months prior to the first explosion in Brixton. On Friday, June 30, Copeland was found guilty of murder. He was sentenced to six life sentences; one for each of the murdered victims and one for each of the bombings.

In an attempt to secure his release consultant psychiatrist Paul Gilluley told the court that Copeland was “suffering from paranoid schizophrenia when he carried out the bombing campaign. He said Copeland believed he was the "first domino" in a ‘race’ war and that he was “a prophet and that Jesus would take him up to heaven because he was righteous”. A psychiatric report read out stated; "He said he would have liked to be tall, white, good looking, an SS commander, powerful with female slaves to have sex with but not rape”.

He was sent to Broadmoor mental institution where he is allowed a TV, CD player and access to a gym after being diagnosed with a ‘personality disorder’.

Much of the British media reported Copeland’s upbringing as being quite normal. He had grown up with two brothers and his parents had only separated about four years prior to his arrest. In May 1997, Copland also joined the British National Party (BNP). A year later, Copeland joined the National Socialist Movement (NSM). Speaking in a programme broadcast on BBC1 30 June 2000, a BNP infiltrator told the BBC Panorama Team;

“When I first met Dave in the summer of 1997 he'd just joined the party. I think he said he'd joined within the last month. A young lad, very keen to get active, wanted to make contact so he could know what was going on. Basically he hated blacks but at the same time he didn't seem very different from other young men in society. His language was nothing out of the ordinary – [n word], paki, stuff like that.”

During Copeland’s confession he said;

“If you've read the Turner Diaries, you know the year 2000 there'll be the uprising and all that, racial violence on the streets. My aim was political. It was to cause a racial war in this country. There'd be a backlash from the ethnic minorities, then all the white people will go
out and vote BNP... I had a thought once... The Notting Hill Carnival was on at the same time [as the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, when a racist european left a pipe bomb at Centennial Park], and I just thought why, why, why can't someone blow that [Notting Hill Carnival] place up? That'd be a good'un, you know, that would piss everyone off...”

When asked why he did it he replied;

“Because I don't like them [African and Asians]. I want them out of this country. I'm a National Socialist Nazi. I believe in the master race... I knew that Brixton was a focal point for the black community, I knew that Brick Lane was a focal point for the Asian community.. My aim was political. It was to cause a racial war in this country. There'd be a backlash from the ethnic minorities. I'd just be the spark. That's all I will plan to be, the spark that would set fire to this country. Chaos, damage, fire, it's okay.”

In a interview for the BBC, Jon Copeland, who is David Copeland’s brother said;

“I think he just had a healthy dislike of gays, like most of the male gender have, not a hatred, just a dislike... It was only a joke by people in the pub calling him Mr Angry because he'd sort of walk around the pub a bit drunk and with a bit of a snarl on his face. But here was nothing sinister in it. It was just a joke. He was a normal person, a normal teenager, happy, quite attentive, quite enjoyed his work.”

Stephen Copeland, father of David Copeland also defended his son, he said;

“I don't think David is a rotten, evil swine. I think he's just been badly advised, badly misled. He's a boy that hasn't grown up. He hasn't matured. And he's just gone down the wrong road I'm afraid, and no-one, including myself, has noticed.”

Hero: Aiah Menjor - While police were talking, he acted.

The lone agent myth and the political cover up

After the nail bomb exploded in Brixton, the Daily Mail claimed that it might have been the work of "Jamaican Yardies". This followed a trend established by the police who had sought to treat Duwayne Brooks as a prime suspect in the anti-African murder case of his friend Stephen Lawrence.

Trevor Phillips caused community outrage after he infamously made a rare visit to Brixton market posing for media photos holding some yams in an attempt to show things were ‘business as usual’. In an interview with the Guardian newspaper he stated; “I was leafleting [for my mayoral campaign] after the Brixton bombing in Brixton market, and people had no idea what I stood for”. Writing for the Observer Phillips claimed "Perhaps this is the real source of the bombers fury... It is not just that they hate Britons of a different background; it is that they know they have already lost their battle to define Englishness that would exclude all those who are not white".

But all of these distraction tactics were politically motivated. The police had come under intense pressure to quickly secure a conviction once it was realised that the Soho bombing was not ethnically motivated but instead a ‘homophobic’ attack. Phillips was running for mayor of London at the time and losing the battle to win community support. But most damning of all was that two months before the terrorist bomb attack, the institutionally racism and professional incompetence within the Metropolitan police had been exposed to the wider public in a damning report documenting the inept manner in which the Met had investigated the murder of Stephen Lawrence.

Stephen was stabbed by a group of european youths as he waited for a bus in south-east London. The five probable murderers were identified within hours but in the anti-African politically motivated search for the ‘lone agent’ the police deliberately diverted its resources from the most likely suspects and instead launched a harassment campaign against innocent victim Duwayne Brooks. As a result the five probable killers escaped justice and have never being convicted.

In an attempt to deny the rise in ethnicity motivated crime in London, the police deliberately played down Copeland’s connection with anti-African neo-nazi groups such as the BNP and the NSM (formed from the remnants of Combat 18) at their news conferences.

Scotland Yard initially reported they had received news a growing number of threats from extreme right-wing groups since the Brixton bomb attack. Metropolitan Police commissioner, Paul Condon said catching those responsible for the Brixton attack was the major priority for the force. Yet the police quite visible changed its political position on the existence of groups to the ‘lone agent’ story and David Veness, Assistant Commissioner Metropolitan Police publicly announced;

“[David Copeland] is not a member of any of the groups which have made claims of responsibility for the bombing, nor did he make any of the claims using their name. It is understood that he was working alone for his own motives.”

Critics answer that this was not true. The NSM affiliated neo-Nazi organisation Combat 18 is one of the groups which claimed responsibility for the Brixton bombing. It also contacted police to say it was behind the Brick Lane attack. Copeland was an active member of both the BNP and the NSM and was working to their explicit agenda as an NSM website states;

"A practical guide to Aryan revolution. Racial war. This means creating tension and terror within ethnic communities and damaging or destroying their property and their homes by fire bombs and/or explosive devices. Part of this involves attacking individuals and killing some of them."

In an attempt to mislead the public the 'lone agent' myth was propagated by the British government, police and the odious police federation.

Jack Straw, Home Secretary said “I praise the Met for its painstaking investigation to bring the perpetrator to justice.”

Glen Smyth, Chair of the Met Federation took the opportunity to strategically hit back at the Macpherson report and stated;

"Met officers and support staff responded magnificently. Their care, courage and compassion was the strongest possible statement of our commitment to Londoners at a time when the eyes of the media were upon us and our strongest critics were just waiting for any slip. We have much to be proud of."

John Stevens, Metropolitan Police Commissioner also used the incident as political capital perversely claiming;

"Im exceedingly proud of the officers and civil staff in the Anti-Terrorist Branch and the other officers and civil staff in the Met who worked extremely hard to ensure that Copeland was caught… Partnership was absolutely invaluable in apprehending this callous individual and the level of co-operation between communities and police was truly inspiring… This investigation shows that the Met will bring to justice anybody who threatens the safety of the people of London."

Howvever in 2003, Copeland recieved street justice when he was beaten up in his private room on Taunton ward at Broadmoor after a fellow patient walked in and shut the door behind him. His assailant was described as a 6ft 5ins African man. A source at the top-security mental hospital said: "Copeland was in a mess. He was beaten to the floor and kicked in the head…. Members of staff heard him crying out and they ran to the room….He had to be taken away to the medical area for treatment to his injuries."

David Copeland: BNP/NSM activist waged terrorist bomb attack on African community

External Links
BBC - UK Bomb warning
BBC - Profile: Copeland the killer
BBC - Panorama Transcript
Mirror – Nailbomber savagely beaten in broadmoor
Observer - I just want to be free of Steve

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Lone Agent or Political Coverup?
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[Regarding the Mr Angry nickname] It was just a joke. He was a normal person, a normal teenager, happy, quite attentive, quite enjoyed his work.

Jon Copland, Brother of Brixton Bomber

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