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UK Reflects After Bombing Verdict, Bin Laden's Death


Americans have 9/11, Britons have 7/7. Its now more than five years since four suicide bombers attacked Londons transport system -52 people were killed. Yesterday, a coroner concluded an inquest into the July, 2005 bombings after weeks of wrenching testimony.

Vicki Barker reports.

VICKI BARKER: In her summing up, coroner Heather Hallett praised the bereaved for what she called their quiet dignity. She ruled that delays by fire and ambulance crews on that chaotic day did not cause the deaths of any of the 52 victims. But she also said the emergency and the intelligence services made several serious mistakes, and she made nine specific recommendations designed, she said, to save lives.

Grahame Russell lost his son, Phillip.

Mr. GRAHAME RUSSELL: Whatever is written down here, whatever is recommended, whatever has been said can help people in the future, one would hope. But to me they help me not at all. They do not bring my son back.

BARKER: During 19 weeks of often wrenching testimony, relatives heard how 17 of the 52 victims were still alive in the minutes, even hours, after the blast -how some of the fatally wounded were left to die in agony, while traumatized medics treated those who could be saved.

John Taylors daughter, Carrie was one of those left to die. He accepts the principle of triage, but not how it was implemented.

Mr. JOHN TAYLOR: Carrie might not have been saved. But she should have had the chance. So should have all the rest of them.

BARKER: Some organizations have already changed their procedures. Graham Foulkes, who lost his son, David, says he'll fight to make sure the report isn't left to gather dust in some government office.

Mr. GRAHAM FOULKES: These recommendations are not about improving the infrastructure of the sewage system. These are recommendations to save peoples lives, and they really need to be implemented.

BARKER: Several families say they were left wondering if MI-5 could have stopped the bombers. For instance, one father, a software engineer, said he'd been shocked to hear MI-5s computers couldn't perform effective searches of suspects by name. The families want a full, legally enforceable public inquiry. But the coroner says her report should and likely will - be the last word on the 7/7 bombings.

For NPR News, I'm Vicki Barker in London.

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SIMON: Youre listening to NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Vicki Barker was UPR's Moab correspondent from 2011 - 2012.