Police search bomber's home

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The Independent Online

Police yesterday raided the Irish home of 23-year-old Edmund O'Brien, believed to be the IRA bomber who died in Sunday night's explosion on a double-decker bus in the Aldwych, central London.

Gardai officers went to Mr O'Brien's home town of Gorey, Co Wexford, and searched the house of his parents, Myles and Margaret O'Brien.

The O'Brien family refused to speak to the press yesterday and last night their house was under police guard. Officers also searched four other homes in the Gorey area, believed to belong to known republicans.

Mr O'Brien, who had no known links with the IRA, is understood to have been in Britain for approximately 18 months after moving to London in search of work on building sites.

A former choirboy and keen sportsman as a schoolboy, he left home after becoming frustrated at being unemployed. His only job after leaving school was as a petrol-pump attendant. He travelled to Scotland and Germany before going in London. He returned home to spend last Christmas with his parents, then went back to London.

Described by neighbours as a quiet couple, Mr O'Brien's parents did not find out about the claims of their son's involvement in the bus bombing until yesterday.

There was intense police activity in Gorey and later, the town was besieged by journalists and camera crews. Local people have voiced their opposition to the current IRA campaign and last night the mood in the town was sombre as world attention focused on it.

Meanwhile, Brendan Woolhead, 33, injured in the Aldwych bomb blast, was ruled out as a suspect by police yesterday. The armed guard placed on the telephone technician as he recovered from a fractured skull, broken leg and damaged pelvis at St Thomas's Hospital, London, has been removed.

Mr Woolhead had recently returned home to Dublin hoping to find work as a telephone technician after several years in England. Unsuccessful, he returned to London on Sunday to begin work with a British Telecom contractor the next day.

His wife remained in Dublin with their four-year-old son. Mr Woolhead's brother, Gerald, said: "I was flabbergasted to hear he was a suspect."

Mr Woolhead is due to have surgery on his pelvis today.