Laura Morris: It wasn't until I gave evidence that the flashbacks really started to disappear

A Survivor's View: After leaving the courtroom I wept for a long time. Not just tears but body-wracking sobs that alarmed the people near me
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The Independent Online

I was feet away from the blast on the Aldgate train on 7 July 2005, and the images will never completely leave me. Even when you think you have got over it, you haven't.

One minute you can be chatting animatedly in the pub with friends, the next someone drops a glass behind you and, instead of being safe in the pub with your mates, you are on the tracks of a tunnel looking at people lying dead in front of you.

And the worst bit is that no matter how many times the flashback plays out in your head, the ending is always the same. The bomb goes off, innocent people die, and families lose their loved ones.

The worst part of my flashbacks has always been the memory of a man, blackened and burnt, who bravely stood at the side of the tunnel, not moving. I had to leave him under the ground, and always assumed he had died alongside Shezhad Tanweer's other victims.

In the darkest of days after the bombs there were moments when I contemplated joining the ranks of those that died that day – to take the terror and guilt away – but I knew my own family would be devastated. That has been the only thing that has helped me get out of bed some days.

But for all that, I know I am one of the incredibly lucky ones. I survived relatively unscathed and received some of the best trauma treatment available in the world at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge. Once a fortnight, for a whole year in 2009 and 2010, my wonderful therapist helped me remember the person I had been before the bomb, to rebuild my confidence in the world and to recognise the enormity of the things I had said. It took a long time before I could cry.

Slowly but surely, I learnt to accept that I had done all I was capable of doing to help on that fateful day. My guilt at leaving that poor, blackened and burnt man on those train tracks never left me, but I started to learn to live with it, aided also by the knowledge, later gained, that he had survived.

It wasn't until I gave evidence at the inquests the flashbacks really started to disappear and my life returned to something more closely resembling normality.

Giving that evidence was an experience almost as terrifying as the bombing itself. I had asked not to have to do so, but Lady Justice Hallett's team asked me to appear anyway. My sense of duty eventually outweighed my terror, although I was still worried I would manage to do nothing but cry on the witness stand – no help to anyone.

Eventually, in a new suit bought for the occasion, I arrived at the High Court in October, accompanied by my father and a friend. What happened next is a blur. I remember almost nothing of what happened after I entered the court room. But I do remember leaving the room and weeping. I wept for a long, long time. Not just tears, but body-wracking sobs that clearly alarmed the people around me as much as they did myself.

Looking back, I think that was the final release for me. I had handed over the guilt and the responsibility to Lady Hallett.

Throughout the inquest process the questioning was thorough, engaged and thoughtful, with a kind consideration of the welfare of every witness no matter how seemingly inconsequential. Lady Justice Hallett made people feel as if they had managed extremely well in the darkness under the ground, or in the midst of a destroyed bus – without losing sight of her aim to seek out the truth of the day and to give the families of those who died the answers they so desperately need.

It's important to remember what the scope of an inquest is. It is to determine a few set facts: who died, where, when and how they met their death. These days coroners may record a narrative verdict – as it is likely Lady Justice Hallett will decide to do – and within that some recommendations might be made as to how the death might have been prevented. It is these recommendations I, and many others, shall be reading closely.

I am due to move to Australia in a few weeks' time, and so for me the timing of the verdict is good. I will have the time to read it, digest it and leave it well behind me – along with my post-traumatic stress disorder, I hope.

I no longer want my "survivor" status to define me. Seven people on my train lost their lives: the last thing I want is to hand myself over as another victim of Shezhad Tanweer. His evil act will no longer have a ruling hand over my life.

He is dead – along with his spiritual inspiration, Osama bin Laden – and I hope the memory of what he did will die in time too. But I hope too that the lessons learnt from that terrible day will be carried into the future through Lady Justice Hallett's recommendations.

Laura Morris is senior reporter at Cambridge First