Dead IRA man 'had hit-list' of bomb targets

The IRA was stockpiling bombs and making lists of potential targets on the British mainland throughout the last ceasefire, it was disclosed yesterday.

Details of the preparations for a terror campaign, which took place while President Bill Clinton was on a peace mission to the United Kingdom and Dublin, were revealed at the inquest on Edward O'Brien, the terrorist who blew himself up on a bus in central London.

It is believed the information about O'Brien's terrorist activities was found in documents recovered from his flat in south east London.

O'Brien, 21, died on 18 February when the 5lb Semtex bomb he was carrying went off accidentally at the Aldwych.

At yesterday's inquest at Westminster Coroner's Court, in which a verdict of accidental death was recorded, Detective Superintendent William Emerton of Scotland Yard's Anti Terrorist Branch said O'Brien was working for the IRA on the British mainland as early as August 1994.

Police raided O'Brien's flat immediately after the blast and found 33lb of Semtex, 20 timers, four detonators, an incendiary device and ammunition for a 9mm handgun which he was carrying when he died.

They also recovered documents outlining potential future targets.

Mr Emerton said: "It was a complete find of bomb-making equipment which could have sustained a significant bombing attack on the citizens of London."

"I can prove that from August 1994 O'Brien was in London operating on behalf of the IRA and indulging in criminal activity. I can prove that in October and November 1995 he was collecting targeting information and assembling his bomb-making equipment in his flat, clearly intent on carrying out the intentions of the Provisional IRA."

The police are also almost certain that O'Brien was responsible for a planting a Semtex bomb on 15 February in a telephone box in central London, which was later deactivated by the police. An identical sports bag and similar bomb making equipment was found at O'Brien's flat. The inquest heard details of the blast that ripped apart the No 171 bus.

Pathologist Dr Iain West said O'Brien, from Gorey, County Wexford, was killed "virtually instantaneously" by massive injuries caused by the explosion - his legs were blown off, he was peppered with shrapnel, and the force of the detonation ripped his lungs to tatters.

Forensic and pathological evidence suggested that the bomb was being carried in a bag at knee height as O'Brien stood at the bottom of the stairs of the double-decker bus.

Allen Feraday, a forensic scientist, said he could not say exactly why the bomb went off early, but said the most likely reasons included poor training, bad construction, and electrical or mechanical faults.

The inquest was also told of acts of bravery and lucky escapes. PC Miles Manning, who was off-duty when the bomb went off, helped the two passengers and driver injured in the blast. He recalled: "I saw the bus and it looked like there was a huge bite mark where the door should have been.

"Lying in this bite mark was a white male who was still alive and murmuring. Then I looked up and saw the deceased. It was obvious he was dead. His legs had been blown off."

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Packaging Operatives

£7 - £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for two indivi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee / Graduate Helpdesk Analyst

£20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly reputable business is looking to rec...

Recruitment Genius: Estimator

£28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a major supplier of buil...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer

£28000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas