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Commemorative plaque unveiled in Brick Lane to mark the 20th anniversary of nail bombings

PUBLISHED: 16:44 25 April 2019

The council has marked the 20th anniversary of the Brick Lane bombing. Pic: Kois Miah

The council has marked the 20th anniversary of the Brick Lane bombing. Pic: Kois Miah

Kois Miah

A commemorative plaque in memory of the victims of a series of nail bombs has been put up in Brick Lane to mark its 20th anniversary.

The commemorative plaque to the victims. Pic: Kois MiahThe commemorative plaque to the victims. Pic: Kois Miah

The homemade nail bombs were detonated in Brick Lane, Brixton and in The Admiral Duncan pub in Soho in the West End in April 1999.

Three people, including a pregnant woman, died in the Soho bombing and 140 were injured in all three attacks – four lost limbs.

David Copeland, of Hampshire, picked the three areas to target people from the black, Asian and gay community.

Yesterday, which was the day the bomb went off in Brick Lane 20 years ago, John Biggs, mayor of Tower Hamlets, unveiled the plaque with Mark Healey, founder of Hate Crime Awareness Week. Will Tuckley, chief executive of the council, elected members and local residents and activists.

Wreckage of a Ford Sierra at the scene of the nail bombing in Brick Lane on April 24, 1999. Picture: PA ArchivesWreckage of a Ford Sierra at the scene of the nail bombing in Brick Lane on April 24, 1999. Picture: PA Archives

During the ceremony they held candles as Trudy Howson, LGBT Poet Laureate, read a poem to celebrate unity and inclusivity.

Mayor Biggs said: “I was a councillor at the time of the Brick Lane nail bomb and remember the feeling of shock and fear it caused in the heart of our community.

“This role in defining London's strength in tolerance and diversity is why Brick Lane was targeted by hate.

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“Our record in the East End is one of resilience against those that wish to divide us.”

The council's award winning No Place for Hate team raised awareness about how to report hate, and recognised that the borough was a place where 86 per cent of residents feel that people from different backgrounds get along together.

Mark Healey added: “It is important that we provide an opportunity for all those affected by these attacks to be heard, and to ensure we educate future generations to build community cohesion and ensure we work together to prevent further acts of hatred being targeted against members of our communities.

“This is our opportunity to show London stands together, united against all forms of hate crime – attacks like these only serve to bring us closer together.”

Copeland was handed six life sentences in June 2000 after being found guilty of three counts of murder and for planting the three homemade devices.

A 2007 High Court hearing later revised that to 50 years.

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