Liverpool bomb: Timeline of suspect Emad al-Swealmeen’s life in UK

Al-Swealmeen had converted to Christianity around 2017 after taking an Alpha course at Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral

Holly Bancroft
Tuesday 16 November 2021 12:40
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<p>Emad al-Swealmeen, also known as Enzo Almeni, pictured at Speke Hall near Liverpool in April 2017</p>

Emad al-Swealmeen, also known as Enzo Almeni, pictured at Speke Hall near Liverpool in April 2017

The failed bomber who died in the Liverpool hospital explosion was named by police as Emad al-Swealmeen.

The 32-year-old had been living locally and booked a taxi to take him from a house on Rutland Avenue to Liverpool Women’s hospital on the morning of Sunday November 14.

He had been known to the police, having reportedly been ‘sectioned’ under the Mental Health Act in around 2014 or 2015, and had tried unsuccessfully to claim asylum in the UK, apparently telling immigration officials that he was from Syria. His nationality is still undetermined with some papers reporting that he was a Jordanian national who had spent time in Iraq.

2014

Emad Al Swealmeen arrived in the UK in about 2014, according to The Times, but his original case for asylum was reportedly rejected because officials believed he was Jordanian and not Syrian, as he stated.

He apparently told immigration officials that his father was from Syria and his mother from Iraq. He added that he was born in Iraq, close to the Syrian border, and claimed that he had come to the UK after spending time with family in Dubai.

Around the end of 2014 or the beginning of 2015, al-Swealmeen was sectioned under the Mental Health Act after trying to take his own life in central Liverpool and was arrested for waving a large knife.

2015

Following treatment, al-Swealmeen went to Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral in August 2015. He said he was interested in converting to Christianity and underwent the ‘Alpha course’ — an evangelistic ‘primer’ on the basics of the Christian faith designed to appeal to non-believers.

Al-Swealmeen completed the course in November 2015, according to Lieutenant Colonel Malcolm Hitchott. Mr Hitchott, who was helping to hold Bible classes for asylum seekers, had met al-Swealmeen through his work at the cathedral.

2017

Emad Al-Swealmeen was confirmed as a Christian at Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral on March 27, 2017.

Around this time, Hitchott, 77, and his wife Elizabeth, welcomed al-Swealmeen into their home and let him stay there because he had nowhere else to live.

Mr Hitchott said: “He had had a problem, I believe he was sectioned. He was not entitled to accommodation by the Home Office but they put him up in a house for a period of grace but that ran out after six months.”

The Hitchotts took al-Swealmeen in when he fell out with his flatmates in north Liverpool and asked if he could sleep on their sofa, The Times reported. Al-Swealmeen stayed with the couple for eight months.

In May 2017, al-Swealmeen changed his name by deed poll to Enzo Almeni, in tribute to Ferrari founder Enzo Ferrari.

2019

Elizabeth Hitchott bumped into al-Swealmeen in Liverpool town centre. She told the Daily Mail: “It must have been around spring 2019 because it was before Covid. He told me he was doing a cake decorating course, he was really enthusiastic about it.”

2021

Emad Al-Swealmeen had been living at a hostel for asylum seekers on Sutcliffe Street in Liverpool for some time and had recently rented a small flat on Rutland Avenue. It is this second location that police have recovered “significant items” related to the investigation.

Sunday November 14

Emad Al-Swealmeen called a taxi to take him from the Rutland Avenue address to Liverpool Women’s Hospital.

At 10:59am the taxi exploded outside the hospital entrance, and the driver, David Perry, managed to escape with minor injuries.

A few hours later, police raid two properties and at 5pm three men in their 20s are arrested at an address in Sutcliffe Street, which is linked to the bomber.

Monday November 15

Eight families are evacuated from their homes in Rutland Avenue by police in the early hours. A fourth man, 20, is arrested at the Sutcliffe address.

The incident is declared a terrorist attack by police at 11:20am and later, at 2:40pm, the nation’s terror level is raised from “substantial” to “severe”. The new designation means that an attack is highly likely.

Police carry out a controlled explosion at 4pm at Sefton Park and later that evening the bomber is named publicly.

Tuesday November 16

The four men arrested by police in connection with the bombing are released without charge.

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