The luckiest man alive
Commentary at foot of page – October 22, 2010
Just 3ft from 7/7 terrorist, he was blasted on to tracks, half blinded by shard of bomber’s shin-bone and left for dead.
Arthur Martin – Daily Mail October 22, 2010
AN investment banker discovered for the first time yesterday how he unwittingly followed the final journey of a July 7 bomber and ended up only three feet from the blast.
Philip Duckworth, 41, travelled into central London on the same train as the four terrorists, but got out at a different station to them.
[PICTURE: Phillip Duckworth]
In a cruel twist of fate, he then boarded the same Tube carriage as Aldgate bomber Shehzad Tanweer and was standing next to him when he detonated his home-made bomb.
The married father was catapulted out of the carriage and lay unconscious on the rails alongside the wreckage.
When rescuers walked down the tunnel to search for survivors, one looked down at him and said: ‘This one’s gone.’
The banker said he was ‘outraged’ at being told he was dead and summoned up all his energy to take an ‘amazing step’ up to his knee. He then staggered against a tunnel wall before being carried out on a ladder by firemen.
Mr Duckworth was blinded in his left eye when he was hit by a piece of shin-bone from Tanweer’s body.
But astonishingly, he suffered no other serious injuries.
The coroner at the July 7 inquest, Lady Justice Hallett, told him: ‘You’ve reduced us to silence. It is an astonishing story.
‘The idea that you could be so close to the bomber and be blown out of the carriage and still be alive to tell your story is just amazing.’
The bombers had boarded the Thameslink service to central London at Luton. Mr Duckworth got on at St Albans, his home town.
The fanatics got off at King’s Cross and went their separate ways to unleash carnage on the London transport system. Mr Duckworth, who is married to Heather, stayed on the train until Farringdon, the next stop, where he boarded a Circle Line train and sat down to read a Dan Brown novel
As the train approached Aldgate station, the banker rose from his seat and walked towards the door where the bomber was standing.
Describing the moment the bomb went off, he said: ‘There was a very bright white flash. I was sort of inside it, it was an all-enveloping flash and it seemed to go on for ever, and then I don’t really remember anything after that.
‘After that, I woke up, in the very loosest sense of the word, on the rails. I couldn’t breathe and I think I maybe sort of blacked out again at that point. ‘I couldn’t really move, and then I just remember some guys went past. There was a guy with a torch and he said, “Oh no, this one’s gone” and then moved on.
‘But at that point, I was like “No, I’m not. Hang on a second, I’m not gone”. That’s when I forced myself on to my knees and got up. I sort of staggered over to the wall to sort of catch my breath. I just couldn’t breath. It felt like being winded – really badly winded.’
Two firemen tried to lift him out of the tunnel on a ladder, but dropped him on their first attempt. Four others joined the rescue mission and were then able to carry him out.
In hospital, doctors removed the piece of bone from his left eye and told him he would never be able to see out of it again. He now has a prosthetic eye.
During an emotional day in court, a commuter on the same carriage broke down in tears as he relived his attempts to find a pulse on a fellow passenger who was blown out of the carriage.
Colin Pettet had to stop giving evidence to compose himself as he described coming across the man lying face down on the tracks with many of his clothes blown off.
He told the inquest: ‘I tried to get a pulse on him but couldn’t find a pulse in his neck or his hands or on his arms. He appeared dead.’
Mr Pettet also came across a stocky man aged around 40 who was sitting upright but did not respond.
‘I couldn’t get a word out of him,’ he said. ‘He was in complete shock, unsurprisingly.
‘He was just covered in soot and dirt, clothes ripped off him and just sitting there staring into space.’
Suicide bomber Tanweer and his co - conspirators Mohammed Sidique Khan, 30, Jermaine Lindsay, 19, and Hasib Hussain, 18, killed 52 people and injured more than 700 in the 2005 bombings at Aldgate, Edgware Road, King’s Cross and Tavistock Square.
The hearing continues.
Comment – October 22, 2010
As the correspondent who sent this in commented: the 7/7 inquest is beginning to "fall apart". As it does so and as if to distract from its increasing lack of cogency, the testimony presented gets more horrific and outlandish too.
Like the 'investment banker' who claims he was feet from Shehzad Tanweer when he detonated his explosives. Yet the banker – and we know how far we can trust them – escaped with only a piece of Tanweer’s shin bone in his eye.
In fact the whole story sounds like fiction, probably dreamt up by British security who are known to work closely with City of London bankers.
For ultimately there is no way to confirm that the investment banker, Phillip Duckworth was an authentic victim of the 7/7 attacks. Or if his name was simply added to the list of victims.
By his own account, Duckworth was all but given up for dead by rescuers and only came back to this realm because he was “outraged” at being told he was dead.
Such testimony wouldn't be out of place in a dramatised version of the 7/7 attacks.
To make it more believable however, such theatrical testimony is intermingled with the accounts of authentic witnesses.
Such witnesses sound genuinely traumatised and would be all the more so if they realised who was really behind the 7/7 attacks.
It’s also worth noting that the readers comments following this report in the Daily Mail looked as if they were being carefully monitored. With comments questioning the official version of events – we sent one in – being promptly disposed of.
As with 9/11, eyewitness accounts of the events of 7/7 are being carefully framed so as to uphold the official narrative.
Last updated 25/10/2010