Nail bomb attacks: He lies in hospital, unaware his wife, unborn baby and friends are dead

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The Independent Online
"WHY OH WHY?" The message attached to a bouquet at the spot of Friday night's devastation summed up the feelings of those bereaved and injured by the bomb.

Why indeed. Bombs have no conscience; and the sickeningly effective device that tore through the heart of Soho may have been aimed at the gay community, but - once put in place - it could not discriminate.

The full brunt was caught by a small party of five on a night out to the theatre. Andrea Dykes, married for less than two years, and four months pregnant, was killed. So were her best man, John Light, and gay friend, Nick Moore.

Last night Julian Dykes, 25, lay in a hospital bed unaware his wife, unborn child and two friends had perished in the blast which injured 65 more.

Mr Dykes was one of four men fighting for life last night. A total of 19 victims remain in hospital.

Only weeks earlier the computer programmer from Colchester, Essex, had been excitedly handing out scan pictures of his unborn baby. During his last moments of consciousness, Mr Dykes was laughing and chatting with his 27-year-old wife and their three friends in the bustling Admiral Duncan pub. Yesterday he lay unconscious in a University College Hospital bed on a life support system.

The fifth member of their party, Gary Partridge was also severely burned in the attack.

The group had stopped at the pub to enjoy a holiday drink. Mr Light, 32, whom Mr and Mrs Dykes had just asked to be godfather, had bought tickets to the Abba musical Mamma Mia in celebration.

"I just cannot understand why anyone would want to do such a thing and destroy the lives of such a beautiful couple," said Mrs Dykes's aunt Lynn Smith.

Mrs Dykes, who worked with Mr Light at a Colchester Bingo club, was described as "quiet but lovely". The Reverend David Thomas, who married the couple only 20 months ago, described the "palpable sense of sadness" which had enveloped the community.

Mrs Dykes's stepfather Trevor Hogg said: "I feel most sorry for Julian. He has lost the wife he adored, his baby and his best friend. But at the moment he is lying in hospital not knowing what has happened.

"It is going to be awful when he finds out. It does not bear thinking about."

Nick Moore, an "outgoing and independent" 31-year-old had become good friends with the couple after being introduced to them by Mr Light.

Last night his father Robert, speaking from the family's home in Felixstowe, Suffolk, said: "We understand Nick was just inside the doorway and took the full blast. He was murdered. He was smashed to pieces by a bomb. It's so difficult to understand why this has happened."

Mr Moore, who had travelled the world with the merchant navy, RAF and British Aerospace, had settled in London, where he worked for an office supplies company. Last night a friend of the family's said: "I can't believe this has happened. Five friends went out for a night and three of them were killed."

Doctors spoke of the horrific injuries of the victims which left limbs shredded or severely burned. "Handfuls" of glass and metal had to be dug from the wounds of the injured.

Dr Howard Baderman, consultant at UCH's accident and emergency department, said he could not rule out further amputations, adding that many victims would be permanently disfigured and scarred.

The doctor, who had treated survivors of the Kings Cross fire, said many of the injuries he had seen were even more severe.

Alongside Mr Dykes at UCH, a 28-year-old remained on the critical list. The young Northern man, who works in the catering industry, had to have a leg amputated.

At Middlesex Hospital chef Mauro Mazzon was being kept on a life support machine after having a leg amputated. The 31-year-old who arrived from Pordenone, north east Italy, seven years ago, also suffered severe burns. A second man at the hospital was being treated for 40 per cent burns and was said to be serious but stable.

Two patients at St Thomas' Hospital were still in intensive care yesterday with five more in a serious condition.

Gary Partridge, who was badly burned by the bomb, was among two "stable" patients within the burns unit at Broomfield Hospital, Chelmsford.

Two severely injured patients were being treated at the Queen Victoria Hospital specialist burns unit in East Grinstead, while a man in his 40s remained at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.

Three men at the Royal London Hospital, were undergoing further surgery for lacerations burns and nail injuries.

The shattered Soho community gathered near the scene of devastation yesterday to remember their dead and injured. Gay campaigners gathered for a vigil to remember the victims last night. Across the country friends and relatives were suffering the horror of mourning their dead or coming to terms with the horrific injuries inflicted on their loved ones.

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