Police issue description of suspected Ealing bomber

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The Independent Online

It is a nondescript face but police believe these are the features of a man who was willing to conspire in, or even carry out, the mass murder of innocent people enjoying a night out. Scotland Yard's anti-terrorist branch released this e-fit on Friday of the man who owned the grey Saab used in the Ealing Broadway bombing.

As it was revealed that one of the injured victims had been re-admitted to intensive care, detectives appealed for further help in tracing the bomber. Alan Fry, Deputy Assistant Commissioner and head of the Anti-Terrorist Branch, said the explosive, left in an area packed with youngsters, could easily have caused "mass murder". Seven people were injured in the blast.

Detectives say the sketch is of the man who paid £425 cash for the Saab 9000 turbo at a car dealership in Ilford, Essex, on 19 July. He is in his mid-30s, 5ft 10ins to 5ft 11ins tall, of slim build with straight, mousy blond hair and a pitted face. He has a slightly dimpled chin and spoke in a soft Irish accent when buying the five-door saloon from Assured Car Finance Ltd at The Big Car Site, in Green Lanes, Ilford. He then asked for directions to the A406 North Circular road.

"We believe this man bought the grey Saab which was later filled with explosives and detonated in a busy west London street where hundreds of innocent people were enjoying an evening out," said Mr Fry, adding: "We urgently need to identify this man. Where does he live? Where does he work?

"We would appeal to anyone – a friend or a relative – to come forward."

The car was reported abandoned in Esher Road, Ilford, on 30 July. Police checks were made but the vehicle was not reported lost or stolen and the local authority was contacted. Detectives are trying to trace where the Saab was kept between 19 July and 30 and from 31 July until the explosion at 20 seconds past midnight on Friday, 3 August. They are also still trying to locate two men who appeared, on CCTV footage, to exchange a few words with the chief suspect after he nearly bumped into them in the Broadway, Ealing.

The man re-admitted to hospital after collapsing yesterday is a 45-year-old who suffered concussion and cuts to his face in the explosion.

"It is a further example of the reckless, callous nature of these terrorists who are prepared to put a car bomb in an area near pubs and clubs where innocent people are frequenting and having a normal enjoyable Thursday evening out," said Mr Fry.

As police yesterday staged a reconstruction of the events leading up to the bombing, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir John Stevens visited the scene, insisting he was "very confident" of catching the terrorist.

Meanwhile, relatives of victims of the Omagh bombing have launched an unprecedented legal action against five men with alleged links to the Real IRA, which carried out the atrocity.

Civil writs seeking compensation were issued at the Northern Ireland High Court in Belfast.