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'Don't wait for me tonight, mum' By Paula Dear BBC News
Carrie Taylor, 24, was one of seven people who died on a Circle Line train near Aldgate on 7 July last year, when Shehzad Tanweer detonated a bomb in her carriage as she travelled to work.
Her parents, June and John, endured a 10-day wait before DNA tests confirmed their daughter was dead.
One year on the couple spoke about their grief, anger and belief their daughter may have lived had the emergency response been different.
"Some days you feel okay and others you feel absolutely awful.
"We are not prepared to let go yet. We neither want to let go of Carrie nor let go of trying to get justice for her and everyone else," says June Taylor.
On the first anniversary, they will make their first visit to Aldgate station since the London bombings to see a plaque bearing the victims' names unveiled.
"I'm not looking forward to that, it's going to be hard," said the 58-year-old.
As with so many of the bombing victims, that Thursday last summer was a routine day for the Taylors. Carrie and her mother travelled to London together from their home in Billericay, Essex, by overland train, as they did every day. Carrie put her make-up on, with June holding her mascara as she applied it with a brush, and they chatted.
When they got to Liverpool Street, Carrie headed for the Tube and June walked to work.
"We always used to do the same silly stuff. Carrie would give me a peck on the cheek, and I would give her a pat on the bum.
"I always waited until she was out of sight. That day she finally gave me a big wave and a grin as if to say: 'Off you go, mother.'"
The pair usually travelled home together, but that morning June recalls: "She said I shouldn't wait for her that night, because she was going shopping with her friend."
The rest of the day is a familiar story of concern, attempts to get in touch, worry then increasing panic, followed by a trawl round hospitals in the hope that Carrie was dazed or at worst injured.
"We didn't know where she was. If she had gone straight to work she wouldn't have been on the bombed train, but she had mentioned she had to buy something on the way which would have delayed her.
"We spent the first three days hardly eating or going to bed. I couldn't turn the TV off," says June.
'My heart sank'
John, 57, who works for security at London's Tate Gallery, says their 29-year-old son Simon was a tower of strength.
"There's no way to describe what we went through for those 10 days," he says. "Our son was strong for us; he said unless we knew she had gone, then she hadn't gone."
Prints and DNA swabs were taken from the house by forensics experts, and then the call came from the family's police liaison officer.
"When they rang and said they wanted to come and speak to us, my heart just sank. You just knew what they were going to tell you," June says.
"At first we didn't want to know about what had happened to her, it was bad enough knowing she wasn't coming home," says June.
But four months later, a man came forward saying he had cradled a woman he believed to be Carrie, who was still alive, for about 30 minutes after the explosion.
June said: "The police came and said he could go but he didn't want to leave her. The ambulance people arrived and put a drip into her but after four minutes she died."
The couple say they are angry at the management of the rescue operation - not at the rescuers themselves - for "leaving our daughter down there with those injuries" and believe something could have been done to save her had help arrived sooner.
"We were mortified to hear about this, it threw us right back to 7 July," says June.
Events or milestones often take them back to that day, like getting Carrie's handbag back, making the journey to London for the first time, reading of official reports into the bombings, and dealing with media enquiries. And not long after the bombings, the police gave the couple a grainy CCTV image of June and Carrie walking through Billericay station an hour before the blasts - a photo June treasures.
Meanwhile, they are a family grieving but trying to get on with life.
Simon, who also works at the Tate, moved back in with his parents on the day of the bombings and has stayed.
"He needed to be here and we certainly needed him. We felt stronger as a family, being together."
June now repeats the morning routine with Simon that she did with Carrie, with her son disappearing down the same Tube entrance every day just as her daughter once did.
"He and Carrie were very close. He used to come home at weekends and they would go to the pictures together. The day before she died they had lunch in London," says June.
"He was so strong at first, but in the last three months he has felt like we did last autumn. The sudden realisation he doesn't have his sister any more has hit hard. He feels solitary now."
With Simon and John working later in the evening, this is one of the saddest times of the day for June.
"I find it so hard coming home to an empty house. Carrie and I used to come home together, she would feed the cats and we would start dinner."
The family always made time to go on holiday together to Florida each year.
John said this year's trip in February was "tough but necessary".
"If we hadn't gone, then the bombers would have won."
Some of the family's anger is channelled into a campaign to get better compensation for survivors and for a public inquiry into the bombings, and they are in touch with about 15 other affected families.
To some extent, the attacks have made them more political.
"We were very much in favour of the (defeated proposal to hold terror suspects without charge for) 90 days and think there is too much political correctness about human rights," says June.
"After Carrie died we were in a void, not knowing where to turn, not knowing why she had to be the one it happened to.
"As we move further down the line, I want to stand on my soap box and tell people how I feel."
This is a heartbreaking story. There's a couple of things I don't understand, which I've emphasised in bold. This family had to wait 10 days before having DNA confirmation that their daughter had died. The story also states that "Prints and DNA swabs were taken from the house by forensics experts".
This didn't happen with the suspected bombers, so how could they have been identified so quickly? Hussain's father says he has been shown no DNA evidence; in fact, his family were told he was the bus bomber only a few days after the bombings. Lindsay wasn't reported missing until July 13th, then police searched the house that same day. His property was found on July 15th. His DNA was reportedly taken from a car park ticket that his car was towed away for not having. Did these men not have prints and swabs taken from their houses also? If the families say there's no DNA, then one would assume not.
If the victim's families had to wait 10 days for DNA results, one has to assume it takes that length of time for the results to be established. There can't be any other reason to make them wait for so long. On this basis, how can investigators have identified the men within a couple of days - it would surely be more important to establish who the perpetrators were so that the investigation would move quickly, yet without DNA evidence, how were they so sure? I'm confused.
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Identification of bombings victims could take weeks Wednesday, 13th July 2005, 17:09 Category: Crime and Punishment
The coroner in charge of formally identifying the victims of the London bombings today said the harrowing task could take weeks to complete.
Dr Andrew Reid said recovery teams are working tirelessly to identify bodies and body parts from "primary sources" - dental records, fingerprints or unique medical devices such as pacemakers and hip replacements.
Where none exist they rely on matching DNA from hair samples supplied by relatives, but the testing can take weeks.
And he revealed that the bodies of the bombers will be treated in exactly the same way as the victims.
Dr Reid, coroner for Inner North London and responsible for the identification process at the Kings Cross and Aldgate tube bombs and the Tavistock Square bus bomb, said: "In some cases where there are no fingerprints or dental records we might have to rely on DNA.
"In the worst cases for some of the victims it might take weeks."
He said he understood relatives frustrations at the delay with only ten victims formally identified after six days, but said his priority was to avoid mistakes.
In previous disasters up to 10 per cent of identifications were incorrect.
Sources close to the coroner said that one initial identification made on the basis of a "secondary source" - a photograph - had already proved to be wrong when checked against dental records.
The source said: "If you get one identification wrong you have to double it on the basis it is the same incident and you have upset two family, not just one."
Dr Reid said: "We understand and sympathise with the distress that the process is causing to the victims families.
"Our priority is to complete the identification process and return the victims to their families for funerals as soon as possible.
"Unfortunately this situation is wholly different to the bereavement process that the victims' families expected that they would one day face.
"We have to make sure we return the right victims to the right families and there are no mistakes of identification made."
Dr Reid said: "The bodies of the bombers will be treated in exactly the same way as the victims."
He said that all relatives would eventually learn the circumstances of their loved ones' deaths when full inquests are held at the end of the police investigation of the bombings.
Recovery teams dressed as for a hospital operating theatre are gathering body parts at the London Resilience Mortuary at the Honourable Artillery Company barracks in Central London.
For each victim a team consisting of a pathologist and eight police officers, orthodontists and radiographers compare sources to evidence supplied by victims' families.
The coroner then takes the final decision whether the identity has been confirmed.
The source said the greatest challenge had been the scale of identification operation and he said it was proving particularly harrowing for the recovery teams.
He said: "It is a difficult job for the staff. Some of the sites are causing more problems that others because of their location.
"Damage to the vehicles involved is quite extensive and despite their best efforts some human tissue is going to irrecoverable.
"it is distressing for the officers involved as it is for the victims families.
"But the victims' bodies and remains are treated in a respectful manner at all times."
Dr Reid said that secondary sources include personal possessions, papers, photos and credit cards. But dangers arise where they are out of date or a persons appearance has changed.
He refused to be drawn on whether compulsory ID cards would make the task easier and said he was not in a position to compare the speed of the process with that carried out by the authorities in Spain after the Madrid bombings.
A new Family Awareness Centre for relatives has been established in the Royal Horticultural Hall in Vincent Square and a new telephone hotline on 0845 054 7444 has been set up.
Moya Wood-Heath, emergency planning advisor for the British Red Cross, claimed a premium phone line had been used to deter nuisance callers and said those suffering financial hardship could asked to be reimbursed.
She said staff are continuing to receive fresh calls from relatives and employers daily
RESILIENCE MORTUARY 3.40 The London Mass Fatality Plan had been prepared over a number of years under the aegis of a multi-agency planning group which included representatives of all the key relevant agencies. It was approved by the Forum in March 2005 and formally circulated to all stakeholders at the end of June, just days before the bombings.
3.41 After initial preparatory work by the London Resilience Team (LRT), the Plan was triggered by the coroners at noon on 7 July and the decision was taken to set up a ‘Resilience Mortuary’ (a demountable structure). A Mass Fatality Coordination Team was set up as required by the Plan, consisting of the three coroners involved, the Metropolitan Police Senior Investigating Officer and Senior Identification Manager, Westminster City Council (as lead council), the military, the Anti-Terrorist Branch, LRT, the Home Office and the contractors De Boers who were formally requested to construct the mortuary.
3.42 The Plan worked well. The coroners, police, local authorities, pathologists, LRT, Home Office, NHS, and others worked in close partnership to deliver a ‘Resilience Mortuary’ which was ready to receive deceased victims in 24 hours and fully functioning in 72 hours. An existing stockpile of £130,000 of mortuary equipment (purchased and stored by LRT and jointly funded by the Home Office and the British Airports Authority) proved invaluable in the rapid deployment of the mortuary. The mortuary included facilities for bereaved families to view their loved ones. The Salvation Army provided many valuable services at this facility
5.3 Concern was also raised that the Honourable Artillery Company site was actually owned by a Private Charitable Trust and not by a public body. This meant that an agreement had to be brokered between the HAC, Westminster City Council and the (then) Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) to ensure that the site owners would be fully reimbursed for the use of the site for the three months it was in use as a mortuary. All parties have now been fully compensated. In addition the London Mass Fatality Plan has now been amended so as not to rely on military premises as venues for the Resilience Mortuary. Many more sites have now been identified across London including locations at Royal Parks and Local Authority open-spaces.
3 months? Did identification really take that long?