Northern Ireland

Bomb policeman acted on instinct

Forensic scientists at bomb scene
Image caption Forensic scientists examine the taxi destroyed by the bomb

The police officer in charge of evacuating the area around Strand Road police station in Londonderry during Tuesday's bomb attack said he is lucky to be alive.

Duty Sergeant Adrian Simpson alerted people who were standing in a fast food shop within a few feet of the car containing the device.

"I think human instinct makes you do what you have to do," he said.

He risked his own life by walking past the bomb to bring people to safety.

"I'm sure it was frightening for people to have a police officer bursting in through the door at that time of the night and shouting very loudly that they needed to leave immediately."

Mr Simpson said security cameras monitoring the area outside the station showed that there were three people in a nearby kebab shop.

"They were about 15ft from where the taxi had stopped.

"Those three people were completely unaware of the danger they were in.

"What we knew was there was a bomb outside the station which could go off at any time, and those people were completely unaware," he added.

"I have to consider myself lucky - if things had gone differently, people would have been killed."

Two hundred pounds of homemade explosives were used in the car bomb attack.

No-one was injured in the attack which happened at 0320 BST, but several businesses were badly damaged.

An organisation calling itself Oglaigh na hEireann has claimed it was behind the bomb attack.

In a statement, the organisation also said it had attempted to bomb the police barracks on the previous day.

It said that attack had not gone ahead after two taxi drivers "refused to cooperate with instructions".

PSNI divisional commander Steve Martin said it was fortunate no-one was killed because the device went off more than 20 minutes before a warning said it would.

More on this story