Worst injured 7/7 victim watched ringleader detonate bomb
Monday 08 November 2010
The most seriously injured survivor of the July 7 bombings relived today how he watched the terror plot's ringleader detonate his suicide bomb.
Daniel Biddle, 31, lost both legs, his left eye, his spleen and 87 pints of blood as medics fought to save his life after Mohammed Sidique Khan killed himself and six others.
The former construction project manager, who was standing a few feet from Khan, described a "big white flash" before he was blown out of the carriage.
Mr Biddle described the attack as the inquests into the 52 killed entered its fifth week at the Royal Courts of Justice with details of the Edgware Road atrocity.
Moving statements by relatives of the six victims, Michael Brewster, Jonathan Downey, David Foulkes, Colin Morley, Jennifer Nicholson and Laura Webb, were also read out.
Mr Biddle spent several weeks in a coma and enduring months of treatment but went on to marry his fiancee and hopes to represent Britain at the 2012 Paralympics.
Speaking from the witness box, he said Khan sat close to him before looking down and detonating the bomb with a jerk of his hand, which may have been holding a white cord.
Mr Biddle said: "The train entered the Tube tunnel: I looked around. As I looked around, he looked up and I saw a quick movement. Then there was a big white flash.
"The kind of noise you get when you tune a radio in. It felt like the carriage I was in expanded at a fast rate and then contracted quickly.
"And with that it blew me off my feet and through the carriage doors into the tunnel."
When he woke up on the tracks, pinned down by a piece of carriage door or panel, he said his first thought was that he had "fallen out of the train".
"It was when I tried to move and I couldn't, and as the dust and smoke settled and the noises started, that I realised something bad had happened," he said.
Mr Biddle added: "I was terrified, seeing what I had seen, and thought I was going to die. So I was screaming just as loud as I could to get help."
Fellow passenger and trained first aider Adrian Heili came to his side, along with Lee Hunt, an off-duty Tube driver and paramedic Graeme Baker, who accompanied him to hospital.
Mr Heili, who served with the Austrian Army in Kosovo, told the inquests choosing who to help had been the "hardest" decision of his life.
But he said Mr Biddle, whose screams could be heard coming from outside the carriage, was his "major concern" and he clambered through pools of blood to reach him.
He used his belt and shirt to make tourniquets in a bid to stem the flow of blood, but was handed a poorly equipped first aid kit with little more than gauze and bandages.
Mr Biddle spent several weeks in a coma and doctors gave him dozens of pints of blood in transfusions. His heart was massaged by hand as medical staff fought to save his life.
A 20p piece remains lodged in his thigh bone, and other shrapnel, including his door keys and a large pocketful of change, was removed by surgeons.
The inquest heard Mr Biddle only caught the Tube train because of a series of fateful decisions after waking up late with a migraine and catching the rush hour.
Coroner Lady Justice Hallett said: "The words 'if only' must resonate in the minds of so many survivors and families.
"Given the large number of factors that combined to put you on that train, I pray they do not haunt you.
"You have suffered so much and your survival is inspirational."
Turning to Mr Heili, she added: "Your fellow passengers were extremely fortunate to have you there that day.
"You were, cool, calm, collected and courageous. I can't believe that the brave Mr Biddle would have survived his horrific injuries but for your intervention."
The inquests were adjourned until tomorrow.
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