Soho victim says he joked with rescuers

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The Independent Online
ONE OF the victims of the Soho nail bombing has spoken for the first time to describe how, amid the blood and the carnage of the blast, he found the strength to joke with his rescuers.

Mark Taylor took the full blast of the bomb as he tried to lead his customers out of the Admiral Duncan pub.

The 31-year-old was bleeding heavily and covered in burns as passers- by tried to keep him conscious while he waited for an ambulance. Bored with reciting his age and date of birth, Mr Taylor turned to bystanders and joked: "I can't believe this, I've just paid pounds 30 for a facial."

Manager of the Soho pub for two years, he suffered a nail in the arm, shrapnel and glass injuries as well as extensive burns after taking the full force of the blast on 30 April.

As he lay in the middle of Old Compton Street, he became convinced he would not survive his injuries. "I stared death in the face and lived. It obviously wasn't my time to go because the bomb exploded right next to me," he said.

His burns were so severe that he was transferred from St Thomas's Hospital to a specialist unit in the Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead, west Sussex.

"There are no words to describe that pain other than hell. My whole body felt like it was on fire," he explains in It Happened To Me, a current affairs programme to be broadcast tonight on Channel 5.

Within it, he talks of the bomb aftermath, his injuries and anguish of his father, Phil, mother, Josie, and brother Aaron, 22.

The young man from Warwick, who was one of 65 hospitalised on that night, has since left the East Grinstead unit. Seven people remain in hospital though all are now out of danger.

Gary Reid was the last person to move out of intensive care last week. The 43-year-old New Zealander, who had his left leg amputated, is now being treated in a general ward at St Thomas's Hospital.

"He was critical but he is stable now and improving," a hospital spokesman said on Saturday.

n David Copeland, 22, from Sunnybank Road, Cove, Hampshire, is to appear in court today accused of three counts each of murder and causing an explosion.