UK

7/7 senior officer 'never debriefed', inquests hear

King's Cross underground station
Image caption This was the most deadly of four co-ordinated attacks on the capital's transport network

A senior police officer who took charge on one of the bombed 7/7 trains has never had a formal debrief following the attack, the inquests have heard.

Former Inspector David Mugridge said he had made the "very hard decision" to declare a "crime scene" and was "surprised" he had never had a debrief.

The only requirement had been to fill in a form on the evening after the attacks of 7 July 2005, he said.

Germaine Lindsay killed 26 people with a bomb on London's Piccadilly Line.

His suicide attack, on a southbound underground train between King's Cross and Russell Square, was the most deadly of four co-ordinated attacks on the capital's transport network which killed 52 people.

'Sea of bodies'

The inquests at the Royal Courts of Justice heard that when the now retired officer arrived at King's Cross station after the attack, he had had to force himself to ignore the emerging injured passengers and move towards the stricken carriage.

"I had to steel my heart to walk past those who were walking wounded, to get to the scene, to ascertain what had gone on, on the scene and take command of the scene," he said.

On arrival, he said he was faced by a sea of bodies, with the living and the dead "intermingled" and passengers "moaning and groaning".

"I then made I suppose my only decision of the day. It was quite an easy decision in some ways, and a very hard decision in others.

"To rescue the living and the rest unfortunately would be a crime scene," he said.

'Surprised'

Mr Mugridge said it was his experience as a former member of the Royal Navy, during which he was was caught in a incident during the Falklands War, which led him to think there had been a bomb on the carriage.

The inquests heard the officer feared further explosives were nearby but refused to voice his concerns to ensure others "could concentrate on the job in hand" rather than "worry about their own safety".

"I made a conscious decision that we were going to rescue the living.

"If there was a secondary device there, well, then there was a secondary device and we would keep our fingers crossed," he said.

Mr Mugridge, who became emotional as he left the court, also spoke of how he later joined colleagues at the nearby Renaissance Hotel where he filled in a "sheet" in relation to the King's Cross blast.

"I have never, ever been debriefed on this operation, not by the Metropolitan Police or anyone else," he said.

"I was quite surprised about this. I would perhaps consider myself, because I had done it, to be the expert the Met had for dealing in that sort of situation."

The Sutton police inspector was later awarded an MBE for his efforts during the bombings, the inquests heard.

'Enormously grateful'

The inquest also heard from Dr Alistair Mulcahy, a consultant anaesthetist at the Royal London Hospital who was working as a volunteer doctor for the British Association for Immediate Care on 7/7.

His work at the time - assisting the London Ambulance Service in major incidents - was unpaid and staff sometimes bought their own supplies.

Asked about whether mother-of-two Susan Levy, 53, from Hertfordshire, who was discovered struggling to breathe with "very severe lacerations" to her legs, could have survived if a tourniquet was applied to her limbs at the scene, he simply said: "Yes".

Mrs Levy was later pronounced dead at the Royal London Hospital.

Thanking Dr Alistair Mulcahy for his efforts, the coroner, Lady Justice Hallett, said: "We are all enormously grateful to you and your colleagues who volunteered your services and by the sounds of it, sometimes even had to pay for your own equipment.

"Thank you for everything that you did to try to save Mrs Levy."

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