Twenty-six lives lost – human stories of the King's Cross bombing

Investigation turns to deadliest episode of the 2005 attacks
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The Independent Online

They were born in countries as far apart as Afghanistan and New Zealand, Montserrat and Iran. Aged from 19 to 60, they came from vastly different walks of life – an accountant, a cleaner, an architect, a midwife. But they were all caught in the suffocating crush of the rush-hour Piccadilly line train on the morning of 7 July 2005 – and they all perished together.

Yesterday the inquest into the terrorist attack turned its attention to the deadliest of the four bombs.

The list of 26 victims bore testament to London's multi-cultural tolerance, a sad irony, given the fact they were all killed by an act of fanaticism when Jermaine Lindsay blew himself up on a Piccadilly line train between King's Cross and Russell Square stations.

The 19-year-old was able to claim more victims than his fellow terrorists because of the depth and narrow tunnels of the line. Earlier delays meant the train was packed with up to 1,500 passengers when the bomber took his place in the front carriage and set off his device at 8.49am as the train pulled out of King's Cross.

The lives that were torn apart at that moment were laid bare in evidence before the inquest being held at the Royal Courts of Justice in London yesterday, as one family after another broke down describing the person they had lost. Samantha Badham and Lee Harris normally drove or cycled from their North London home to work but that day the couple, who had been together 14 years, decided to take the London Underground so they could meet friends after work.

The 30-year-old architect and his 35-year-old girlfriend, a web designer, died together that morning. Yesterday, Mr Harris's mother, Lynne Harris, said she "lost a son and daughter on 7 July together with the hopes of seeing them grow old together and have children".

Unlike most gap-year students, Helen Jones, 28, spent her time working with prostitutes and drug addicts at Glasgow's city mission, her mother, Liz Staffell, told the inquest. She went on to train as an accountant.

Mrs Staffell said: "Into a busy life Helen had packed more living, more loving and more giving than many of us will have in a very long life. Her tragic death in the London bombings has deprived the world of a unique young woman with huge potential, talent and compassion."

Veronica Cassidy said of her son Ciaran: "He had no hate in him or ego and he didn't care for politics or war. He loved his family, friends and Arsenal." The 22-year-old, who worked as a shop assistant, was part of a huge Irish family. "We miss his smiling face, his presence, his text messages asking what was for dinner. Ciaran was a very much-loved son, friend, grandson, nephew and cousin. He is greatly missed by all of us," she said. Saba Mozakka, 29, explained how her mother Behnaz Mozakka, a 47-year-old Iranian-born biomedical officer at Great Ormond Street Hospital, had been the glue that held her family together.

Regularly stopping to compose herself, she continued: "I cannot imagine ever marrying without my mother being there to share my day. I cannot fathom the idea of having a family without my mother there to support me. There will never be a day when we do not miss her. Life in our small family will never be the same because my mother was cruelly murdered."

Atique Sharifi had left Afghanistan to seek refuge in London. The 24-year-old, who dreamed of a career in medicine, was studying English and IT at college while working in a doctor's surgery in his spare time to send money to his family back home.

"He was not just a brother, he was also a friend," his sister said, adding his achievement was "the respect that he earned from all those who knew him."

"She was a kind, generous, friendly, bright and amazing young woman," said Shelley Mather's mother, Kathryn Gilkinson. Her daughter, a 26-year-old New Zealander, had been living in London for three years.

Elizabeth Daplin, 26, a hospital administrator who had graduated from Oxford University with a degree in fine art, had lived in many places - from Kent to Lahore, Newport to Nigeria, her sister Eleanor said, applauding her "ability to fit into almost any location and situation readily, with humour and with a sizeable appetite for all that was new and interesting".

Stacey Beer recalled her brother Philip Beer, 22: "Phil was never able to fulfil his dreams and ambitions – he was so young and barely an adult when he was killed. Phil's ambition was to become a well-known hairdresser and travel the world."

She added: "Our lives seem quiet and empty since Phil has gone. There is always a dark shadow over our family; a huge part of our family is missing. When our family share happy occasions there is always a constant reminder that Phil's not here."

Harry Levy paid an emotional tribute to his 53-year-old wife Susan, mother of his two sons, Daniel, 30, and Jamie, 28, saying she had an ability to put other people at ease. He said the City legal secretary was "a wonderful woman and someone people felt they had known for years even though they only just met her."

Karolina Gluck, 29, "was the life and soul of the party" but dreamed of settling down and starting a family, the inquest heard. The young Polish woman, who worked at a private postgraduate college, was nicknamed "Sunshine" because of her lively and warm nature. Ojara Ikeagwu, 56, an extrovert social worker of Nigerian descent, devoted herself to serving the community in Luton, the inquest heard. "Her death dealt a huge blow to her family that has been difficult to recover from. She now has two grandchildren that she'll never see."

Father-of-two Adrian Johnson, 37, had faced the prospect of bringing up his children single-handedly after his wife was diagnosed with cancer. But it was Catherine Johnson who outlived her husband. She said yesterday: "It was so ironic that I would lose Adrian when he was already having to face the prospect of having to bring up the children alone."

Her husband, a product technical manager from Nottinghamshire, was a "gentle and kind soul" with an "incredibly big heart", she said. "I first met Adrian, my wonderful husband, when we were both 15 at our local comprehensive school. I knew from the very beginning that Adrian would be the father of my children and we were together from then on until his death. I have lost my husband, my soulmate and my friend, a person who always made me laugh and feel special," Mrs Johnson added.

Bernard and Rosemary Mayes said the death of their son James, a 28-year-old Healthcare Commission analyst, was "inexpressibly painful" and "beyond comprehension." They added: "One of the greatest and most tragic ironies of the manner of his death was that he believed passionately in human rights and freedom of expression and belief."

THE VICTIMS

Susan Levy: A legal secretary, the 53-year-old had two sons (Daniel, 30, and Jamie, 28) and was known for her ability to put people at ease. A friend said her smile was charming and her laughter contagious.

Helen Jones: Having spent her gap year helping drug addicts in Glasgow, Ms Jones, 28, went on to work as an accountant. Her family said she had huge potential, talent and compassion.

Ciaran Cassidy: The 22-year-old, who came from a large Irish family, worked as a shop assistant in London and was saving up for a trip to Australia. The inquest heard that his great loves were family, friends, football and a weekend drink.

Behnaz Mozakka: The 47-year-old Iranian-born biomedical officer at Great Ormond Street Hospital had lived in north London for 13 years. She was, her family said, a peaceful person who hated violence.

Atique Sharifi: Sought refuge in the UK from Afghanistan. Aged 24, he dreamed of a career in medicine and was studying English and IT at college while working in a doctor's surgery to send money home.

Philip Beer The hair stylist from Hertfordshire was on his way to work in Knightsbridge when the bomb went off. Known for his outgoing personality and sense of fun. At 22, his ambition was to become a famous hairdresser.

Karolina Gluck The 29-year-old from Poland "was the life and soul of the party", but dreamed of settling down and starting a family. She worked at a private postgraduate college and was nicknamed "sunshine".

Ojara Ikeagwu An extrovert social worker of Nigerian descent, the 56-year-old devoted herself to serving the local community in Luton. She had helped hundreds of adults with learning difficulties.

Adrian Johnson A father-of-two, aged 37, from Nottinghamshire. Worked as a product technical manager for Burberry. He had been facing the prospect of bringing up his children alone after his wife was diagnosed with cancer.

Christian Small The 28-year-old advertising sales worker had devoted much of his time to helping disadvantaged children and young people and had recently travelled to West Africa to research his family roots.

Monika Suchocka The "generous and intelligent" 23-year-old trainee accountant had just moved to London from Poland. She was described as a diligent student with a passion for music.

James Adams A 32-year-old mortgage broker from Peterborough, he had supported a charity in southern India so loyally that it erected a building in his memory. Parents said he would have loved to have had a family.

Gamze Gunoral Described as ambitious and sporty, the 24-year-old had come to the United Kingdom from Turkey because she wanted to study English to advance her work as an actuary.

James Mayes The 28-year-old Healthcare Commission analyst was on his way to a seminar when he was killed. He was described as believing passionately in human rights and freedom of expression.

Arthur Frederick Having served three decades as a police officer in Montserrat, the 60-year-old had moved to London to work as a museum security guard. A musician, his calypso hits are still played on Caribbean radio.

Elizabeth Daplyn A hospital administrator who graduated from Oxford University with a degree in fine art, the 26-year-old had lived across the world and was said to be able to fit in anywhere.

Shelley Mather The 26-year-old New Zealander had been living in London for three years. She was described as adventurous, had a passion for indoor cricket and was temping as an administrator.

Anna Brandt The 42-year-old, who had owned a restaurant in Poland, was a cleaner and sent money home to help her children. "She was a very private person," the inquest heard. "She didn't smoke or drink and didn't pursue leisure activities."

Emily Jenkins The 24-year-old, who had grown up in Kew, London, was described as sociable, popular and with a rebellious streak. She had started to settle down and had set her heart on becoming a midwife.

Mala Trivedi She was caught up in the blast as she travelled to work from her Wembley home. A radiographer working at Great Ormond Street Hospital, the 51-year-old was described as cheerful and diligent.

Ihab Slimane The timid 19-year-old IT engineering graduate from Lyon, but of Tunisian origin, had just moved to London and found a job in a French restaurant, while he worked on improving his English.

Michael Minh Matsushita The 37-year-old Vietnamese-American was four days into a new job in IT recruitment. He was remembered for being social and adventurous.

Mihaela Otto Described as the most "kind and generous human being you could ever meet", the 46-year-old dental technician had studied at University College London and was "pursuing her dream".

Rachelle Chung For Yuen The 27-year-old accountant, originally from Mauritius, cherished family above anything, her husband Billy said. After three years in the UK, she told her family she was enjoying life in London.

Samantha Badham and Lee Harris A devoted couple who usually drove or cycled from their north London home had decided to take the underground for once so they could enjoy a night out with friends later. Miss Badham, a 35-year-old web designer and content editor, and Mr Harris, 30, were planning to celebrate their 14th anniversary two days later. They were buried together after a joint funeral in Ledbury, where they had met when Miss Badham was on the committee of Hereford Lads Club and he was a teenager preparing for his Duke of Edinburgh Silver Award.