Sympathy over soldier's death

Click to follow
The Independent Online
The death of Warrant Officer James Bradwell, the soldier who was grievously injured in Monday's double IRA bomb attack on the Army's Lisburn headquarters, yesterday produced many expressions of personal sympathy and political condemnation.

The soldier died just before 7am yesterday in a Belfast hospital. His wife was at his bedside.

WO Bradwell, 43, was injured by both of Monday's explosions. He was apparently close to the first car bomb, in a car park, and then a short time later was further injured by the second bomb. This went off near the medical centre where he was being treated. He suffered serious burns to up to 60 per cent of his body together with a skull fracture and other injuries.

WO Bradwell, of Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, had three children and two grandchildren. He was on his first tour of duty in Northern Ireland with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. He had served in the Army for 19 years, winning the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal for Exemplary Service. His stepmother, Jean, said yesterday: "It is just two months since he was posted to Northern Ireland from Germany. We were worried about him but he reassured us when he phoned at the weekend."

WO Bradwell's father Walter, 66, who lives near Sunderland, said: "It has come as horrible news and I feel bitter that this should have happened when everyone had been hoping that peace had come to Northern Ireland.

"I was very proud of Jim and his work as a soldier. He really loved the Army ... But he had been looking forward to finishing in a few years and starting a new life back in his home area, and it is tragic that he should have been prevented from doing so in this way."

It was confirmed yesterday that one of the surveillance cameras at the Army headquarters had either stopped running or had no tape in it at the time of the bombings.

A man taken in for questioning about the bombing was released from custody without charge by the Royal Ulster Constabulary last night. He was arrested in west Belfast, near where the bombers' getaway car was found burned out.

WO Bradwell's death brought a fresh wave of condemnation of the attacks. Extending sympathy to his family, the Taoiseach, John Bruton, demanded of the IRA: "If there is a new ceasefire will it be just a conditional ceasefire like the last one or will it hold in all circumstances? That is the question that the republican movement must now answer."

David Trimble's Ulster Unionist Party said the soldier's death underlined the fact that Sinn Fein and the IRA had excluded themselves from political talks.