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From The Times April 25, 2009 Forgotten heroes of 1916 massacre will be honoured at last
<snip>The site at Pheasant Wood is believed to be the largest modern mass grave that was not the result of genocide. It will be examined by 30 archaeologists, anthropologists and radiologists, mostly from the University of Oxford. The work is being co-ordinated by Alison Anderson, 43, and Robert McNeil, 62, experts in body identification who worked for the United Nations in Bosnia and Kosovo and who organised the mortuary after the July 2007 London bombings. <snip>
7/7 father tells Met simulation how body ID must be faster
Miranda Bryant and Justin Davenport 12.10.09
The father of a victim of the 7/7 bombings told of the agonising delay in identifying his daughter.
“It was the not knowing”: John Taylor and daughter Carrie, killed at Aldgate
As police staged a terror training exercise on the Tube at the weekend, John Taylor, 60, whose 24-year-old daughter Carrie was killed by a suicide bomber at Aldgate in 2005, described how it took 10 days for he and his wife to discover their child had died.
Around 200 officers from the Met and the British Transport Police took part in training at the weekend to improve their handling of mass casualty incidents. The force is engaged in a series of exercises to prepare for terror-type scenarios in the run-up to the 2012 Olympics.
In 2006 a Government report found there were a series of failings in the emergency response to the July 7 bombings including delays in identifying victims and failures to keep families informed.
Commander Simon Foy, in charge of the Met's Homicide and Serious Crime command, said the force needed to “pay attention” to the way it handles identifying bodies and making sure it keeps families briefed, which he said “previously haven't gone well all the time”.
At the weekend the Met staged a feud between two sets of football fans which resulted in a Tube train being petrol bombed and a man being stabbed outside the station.
Using life-like latex bodies and hundreds of props, the aftermath of an explosion was re-created in a Tube carriage in a tunnel at a station in central London.
Officers had to find 26 items of forensic interest and log and label them as they would be expected to in real life.
Mr Taylor was invited to speak to the officers to emphasise the importance of speeding up the identification process. He described how, with his wife June, he had to drive from hospital to hospital in 2005 as police would not give them any information on their daughter.
It took 10 days for the couple, from Billericay, Essex to have confirmation their daughter was dead. Mr Taylor told the Standard: “For the first few days we were on our own and we didn't know what to do or who to contact… We didn't know whether Carrie was in hospital, wandering around.
“It was the not knowing, not having the information. That's what I told the police on Friday.
“Our family liaison officers stuck with us throughout… but for some of the families they said their FLO wasn't as good as ours and disappeared after two weeks,” he added.
Met detective superintendent Matthew Horne said: “If we lose the confidence of families and catch murderers, we've failed — we need to do both.”
He said: “With 7/7, we thought there was going to be another bomb — that was conflicting with identifying the victims. Families are going through such distress, and it's understandable why. I think we're better now, but obviously there are still going to be delays.” Evening Standard
How 'thinking that there was going to be another bomb' 'conflicts with identifying the victims' is anyone's guess.
Group: J7 Forum Team
Member No.: 598
Joined: 5-July 07
Bomb girl's parents praise police
From the archive, first published Tuesday 26th Jul 2005.
The family of London bombing victim, Carrie Taylor, defended the chance to direct questions at the Metropolitan Police, hitting back at suggestions it was a PR exercise.
Grieving relatives were invited to ask questions to officers from the anti-terrorism squad and police at a special conference about the bombings of Thursday, July 7.
However, while many criticised the opportunity as merely a "PR exercise", June Taylor, 57, from Billericay, whose daughter was killed in the Aldgate blast, said her and her husband, John, found it a positive step.
Speaking from her home in Uplands Road, Billericay, she said: "You could get something positive from it if you wanted and criticise it if you felt that way. We got something positive from it.
"It also gave John and I an opportunity to meet other people in the same position as us so in a weird sort of way it was helpful."
She added that it only became painful when people began asking personal questions about the death of their loved ones.
"I had to leave at this point.
"In general everyone wanted to know the same answer, why did the police take so long in identifying the bodies of the bombers and not the civilians?
"Nothing they said was a surprise to me. They just confirmed what I already knew."
The Taylor family had an agonising ten-day wait before 24-year-old Carrie, who worked for the Royal Society of Arts on the Embankment, was identified as the 48th victim. She was one of seven to die on a Circle Line train at Aldgate.
Her body was finally released on Thursday and now lies in a chapel of rest at an undertakers in Billericay.
Her funeral will be held on Friday at an undisclosed location.
June said: "We want the funeral to be a private affair.
"Not because we are shutting people out, but that's just how we want it. We have had lots of lovely letters from her university and phone calls from lots of her old friends.
"It has been quite upsetting hearing all the lovely things people have had to say about her."
Carrie went to Brightside Primary School and Mayflower High School before reading drama and theatre studies at the Royal Holloway University of London.
Group: J7 Forum Team
Member No.: 18
Joined: 24-January 06
London’s response to 7/7 David Donegan explains how De Boer’s mobile mortuary solution is so swift and effi cient that the UK Home Offi ce recommended the company to the US authorities following Hurricane Katrina.
THE MORNING OF SEPTEMBER 11, 2001 changed the world forever. After the grief and shock had sunk in, major cities around the world realised they needed to update their disaster management plans or, in some cases, begin designing new ones. The overall responsibility for emergency response to a major crisis in the UK capital was given to London Resilience. Working alongside the emergency services, armed forces, local authorities, hospitals, utility and transport companies and central government, London Resilience was charged with the task of preparing for any disaster which could affect the city, be it a natural disaster such as a pandemic, an accidental event such as a plane crash, or a terrorist attack involving the use of chemical, biological or radiological weapons. It was the author’s responsibility as Deputy Director to lead the development of a range of new capabilities and, in partnership with others, to consult, liaise, prepare, design and ultimately implement the capital’s response to a crisis. On July 7, 2005, those plans were put to the test.
In drawing up the Mass Fatalities document, London Resilience needed to define clearly which organisation was responsible for which role. It was vital no gaps were left if a seamless plan to deal with 500 or more fatalities was to be developed. The author needed to source everything from body bags and transport to personnel and storage, but it was the need for large mortuary space that proved among the most problematic issues.
It soon became obvious existing mortuaries would not be able to cope with a large scale crisis. We needed blue-sky thinking. We decided temporary structures were the way forward. Quick to erect, modular, portable and highly flexible – they became an obvious choice, and De Boer became an obvious supplier. Based in Northamptonshire in the UK, the company had already completed several contracts for the Metropolitan Police. De Boer had proved it could provide a relocatable building almost anywhere in London within a few hours’ notice. De Boer offered a managed solution, working with sub-contractors to create different environments required by different sections of a mortuary like temperature control, security, privacy, power, lighting, water and waste facilities. The company thoroughly understood our requirements and was able to meet exacting specifications.
PLANNING The De Boer team spent months visiting permanent mortuaries and attending meetings with London Resilience to suggest a suitable structure and interior design to replicate the facilities they had seen. The unit needed to accommodate everything from post-mortem facilities to family areas and from body storage to canteen and offi ce facilities. When the bodies of British residents killed by the Asian Tsunami in 2004 were flown back to the UK, De Boer was commissioned through London Resilience to provide extra space at Fulham mortuary in south west London. It proved the plans in place could work and where they could be improved. Six months later on July 6, 2005, a document arrived at De Boer’s UK headquarters finalising what had been agreed for a future crisis response. Within 24 hours the plan was being realised and implemented with the creation of a temporary mortuary in the grounds of the Honourable Artillery Company near Moorgate Underground Station in central London.
The four suicide bombers killed 52 people and injured more than 1,100. Detective Chief Superintendent Rick Turner was appointed Senior Identification Manager to make sure the dead were identified speedily and accurately. Within a week of the bombings he had 400 staff working in the mortuary, some of his team remained on site until December. Rick Turner says: “The rapid response structure was excellent. We had letters from bereaved families praising the building and the pathologists said the facilities were the best in the country. It was also secure and permitted complete privacy.” John Barradell, Deputy Chief Executive of Westminster City Council, also praised the response effort. He said: “The staff went far above and beyond the call of duty in response to this emergency. They helped ensure that the response was swift, effi cient and, above all, sensitive. The proactive, effi cient and positive approach by De Boer was outstanding.” De Boer was subsequently recommended to the US authorities by the UK Home Office to provide a massive temporary morgue in the New Orleans area following Hurricane Katrina.
David Donegan is COO – Offi ce of the Strategic Health Authorities at NHS
The next reference to her is the 6 following day, 8 July, when it seems that her apparently 7 dead body was removed. 8 I mention other similar examples exist of those 9 sorts of situations. One that we've seen recently is 10 a letter that has been sent to the inquest applying for 11 designation for one John McDonald, an individual who 12 comforted a passenger for some 40 minutes at 13 Edgware Road before that passenger died and in the 14 letter from the NUT solicitors we read that Mr McDonald 15 would like to know whether that man that he comforted 16 might have survived if the rescuers had reached him more 17 quickly. So it is a theme that occurs in a number of 18 instances. 19 As for this need for resumption, madam, the 20 post-mortem examinations also arise as an area of 21 concern for the families. In the case of Mrs Mozakka, 22 for example, no post-mortem examination was held until 23 13 July, some six days after the bombs, and yes, of 24 course the loss of life that was being addressed here 25 was considerable, was unprecedented, but the question
1 that arises is: could these post-mortems not have been 2 carried out perhaps more quickly than they were? Are 3 there lessons to be learnt? 4 In particular, as to the post-mortems, we have now 5 discovered from the scene reports that there were no 6 internal examinations and, again, a question that arises 7 is: why was the decision taken that there would be no 8 internal examinations? Although the cause of death was 9 clearly the explosions, the precise mechanism of death 10 was not explored, and so that makes the question of 11 survivability all the more difficult for us now and for 12 the families when asking whether or not their loved one 13 might have survived. 14 LADY JUSTICE HALLETT: If that decision was taken by 15 a judicial officer, how do you say an inquest is going 16 to explore that? 17 MR PATTERSON: It may be that your predecessor made that 18 decision. I simply don't know. Doubtless, there were 19 very good reasons, and it was carefully considered, but 20 the fact remains that in looking now at survivability, 21 we have to, for instance, in this case, assume that 22 there were perhaps no internal injuries and that, 23 therefore, sadly, this might be a case where this person 24 was dealing with loss of blood and that Mrs Mozakka, for 25 example, if she hadn't had any internal injuries that
74 1 would have been insuperable, could have survived if the 2 response had got to her quickly enough. We've read 3 about tourniquets being applied and the like, and how 4 often those very seriously injured did survive. 5 LADY JUSTICE HALLETT: I understand that argument. My 6 question was how -- you said that one of the matters 7 that you might wish to explore is why the decision was 8 taken to have no internal investigation, and my question 9 really was, how do you explore that aspect? It's one 10 thing to explore what we do or don't know or what might 11 have happened, given what we do or don't know, but it is 12 a fact that no invasive post-mortems were held. If I am 13 right in thinking that that decision was taken by 14 a judicial officer, I just don't see how you end up 15 exploring it unless you're going to ask to cross-examine 16 him. 17 MR PATTERSON: I don't know what reasons were recorded at 18 the time, whether they have been recorded somewhere. 19 LADY JUSTICE HALLETT: As far as whether or not -- as I see 20 it, the aftermath can be divided into two categories. 21 One is the response of the emergency services and 22 whether or not that has impacted on people's chances of 23 surviving the explosion. There's another aspect which 24 you've just mentioned, which is: could the post-mortems 25 have been carried out more quickly, are there lessons to
1 be learned? 2 Do you say -- which is almost a follow-on from the 3 immediate aftermath, which is, what happens? Were the 4 families notified quickly enough? Were the post-mortems 5 carried out quickly enough? 6 Could you help me on how you say those aspects 7 impact or can be legitimately covered within the context 8 of an inquest into the circumstances of the death as 9 opposed to the circumstances of the investigation 10 thereafter and the telling the families? 11 MR PATTERSON: I agree that there is a limit in the scope of 12 the inquest, and the statute makes that clear, and the 13 Coroners Rules make that clear, and clearly you have 14 a discretion. 15 All I can say in relation to those aftermath issues, 16 where there is a legitimate argument to say that a line 17 has to be drawn, and that they shouldn't be explored -- 18 and, madam, we are realistic about this, and we know 19 that, for instance, issues as to the way in which the 20 family liaison officers communicated, it may be that 21 some of those issues will be deemed to be beyond the 22 scope of your inquest. We recognise that. It's 23 a discretionary matter for you, and it may be that 24 a clear, bright line can be drawn in relation to some of 25 these issues by focusing on certain issues but not
1 others, so that the recovery and the identification 2 issues can be covered, the issues of the mortuary and 3 the post-mortems can be covered, but that thereafter 4 there may be a line that has to be drawn, and 5 I recognise that and we are alive to that. 6 All we would say is that this is a very good 7 opportunity -- if you do resume the inquest, this is 8 a very good opportunity to deal with those issues, if 9 you take the view that they can be concisely and easily 10 dealt with in the scope and in the course of your 11 inquest. 12 LADY JUSTICE HALLETT: Even if I have a discretion, 13 Mr Patterson, I'm bound to exercise that discretion in 14 accordance with the law -- 15 MR PATTERSON: Yes. 16 LADY JUSTICE HALLETT: -- and at some stage I would welcome 17 greater assistance on -- you say that it might be a good 18 idea to get these matters disposed of, but this is not 19 a public inquiry; it is an inquest, if it's resumed. 20 MR PATTERSON: Absolutely, and we recognise that. 21 Certainly, in the hours and days that followed the 22 explosions, there were concerns that the families had as 23 to the whereabouts of their loved ones and telephone 24 calls that were made, enquiries that were made, didn't 25 get the answers that it was hoped they would get and,
1 for example, many of the families that I represent have 2 concerns that, for instance, clear identification of the 3 loved ones was found at the scene. In one case there 4 was medication found with the name of the injured 5 person, in another case there were identification cards 6 found on the body. Yet, for many days, they were 7 anxious and worried and telephoning hospitals and 8 visiting hospitals enquiring into whether or not their 9 loved one might still be alive.
The MPS appear to be pushing for the issue of delays in the identification of the victims to be dealt with outside of the public forum of the inquest:
22 Can I, before going any further with the principal 23 issue, just come to the first of the adjournment matters 24 as I have called them, very briefly. 25 The issues raised by Mr Saunders and Ms Sheff. We
1 entirely recognise that delay in notification to some 2 bereaved families is an important issue. That is 3 stating the obvious. 4 Equally important are observations as to how and to 5 whom family liaison officers communicated within 6 bereaved families, and Ms Sheff has made written 7 submissions on this, although I think she didn't repeat 8 them orally. 9 The Metropolitan Police would like to assist and 10 would like to assist notwithstanding that Mr Keith, in 11 his submissions, at page 29 at A1, has observed that at 12 least one of those issues may not fall within the scope 13 of any inquest, however you formulate it. 14 We note, of course, that identification as such, as 15 an issue for the inquisition, is not in dispute. We 16 imagine that's precisely where Mr Keith is coming from, 17 when he says that, if that is not -- let's put it this 18 way -- a live issue, then delays in identification are 19 unlikely to be an inquest issue. 20 Now, the Metropolitan Police by virtue of its 21 multiplicity of roles is, of course, able to set up 22 direct lines of communication with the affected families 23 on the two issues that Mr Saunders and Ms Sheff have 24 raised. 25 However, as these proceedings are on foot, it seems
1 to us that it may be better if we invite Mr Saunders and 2 Ms Sheff, on behalf of their clients, to repeat and 3 expand upon their concerns in writing and to Mr Smith. 4 We would then hope, of course, that he would 5 immediately convey to us those issues in as much as they 6 touch on the Metropolitan Police and we would do our 7 best to answer those concerns. 8 So if you're minded to say today, as it were, that 9 one or more of those matters is not within the ambit of 10 any inquests, so be it, and Mr Keith may even invite you 11 to do so. But we would like to deal with the matters, 12 we hope, to the satisfaction of the affected bereaved 13 families. 14 If, therefore, you adjourn ruling upon those matters 15 in principle, you may approve that we shall address them 16 upon the basis that either Mr Saunders and/or Ms Sheff 17 can then withdraw the matters if satisfied or, if not, 18 we can return to them in a discrete submission during 19 the next scheduled hearing in mid-June, and if that 20 finds favour, we are willing to act in that fashion.
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