Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Yesterday, the police. Part 1

Yesterday, I had lunch in a hotel in Euston with some of the Kings Cross United passengers, and Steve and Gerard, the British transport police officers who rescued the people trapped in the Kings Cross train that was bombed on July 7th. Chief Constable Ian Johnston and Deputy Chief Constable Andy Trotter also attended the lunch, which was so we could thank each other for what we had done to help each other on that day and afterwards. We thanked the police, the police thanked us.

Last Friday, Steve and Gerard had received a Chief Constable commendation from transport secretary Alistair Darling, the highest possible honour for their bravery on July 7th.

Gerard has only been a policeman for less than a year and was still on probation. Steve is an Inspector who has been in the British Transport police for some years. They had both been on G8 duty – looking for ‘people with rucksacks, climbing irons, that kind of thing’ on the way to Edinburgh to cause disruption at the G8 conference in Gleneagles.

Having heard and felt the explosion as they stood on an escalator, Steve and Gerard went to the Piccadilly line platform where they saw smoke beginning to billow out of the tunnel where the train was trapped further down the line, having just left the station on its way to Russell Square. Steve told Gerard to wait for him as he rushed into the tunnel, telling him if he was not back by 9.30am to ‘seal the station and report me as a casualty.’

Steve did not know if he was running into a secondary set of bombs, or a fire, or a dirty bomb or a biological attack. But he headed into the tunnel anyway. Gerard waited. 'Yes, I felt lonely’ he told me in a soft Irish accent. 'I kept looking at my watch, wondering if Steve was ok’

Steve managed to get all the walking wounded, all the frightened, sooty passengers off the train and then he arrived at carriage one, walking through the train until he found the metal connecting door to the first carriage buckled by the blast inside carriage one.

He wrenched open the door and saw ‘what no amount of training can prepare you for’ and what he will never tell the press or anybody else about ‘out of respect for the families and the memories of those people’.

Meanwhile me and the 25 or so people at the front of carriage one who could walk had already left, and were were straggling down the tunnel to Russell Square, in single file. We could not walk back through the carriage and through the train to Kings Cross, which was the closer station, because the bomb had destroyed the carriage behind us. I was one of the last to leave carriage one, and I before I left I turned around and I looked. And looked again. And then took the hand of the girl next to me and walked away, leading her off the train with me. What I saw haunts me as it haunts Steve. The terrible scene, the terrible guilt at not being able to stay and help the dying. But I only saw a little bit, and I was cushioned by shock. Steve had to come in and see the whole thing, and take control, and make the terrible decision to tell the people still alive that he was going to leave them in order to go and get help

As I was walking down the tracks to Russell Square with the other passengers from carriage one, talking to try to keep them from panicking, hoping no-one else had seen what I saw, Steve was going back to Kings Cross to get help and to report what he had seen. I remember when I left I wanted to tear myself into three parts: I knew I had to get myself and the other passengers off the train, and I knew I wanted to stay and help the injured and dying. And the third part of me just wanted to run away screaming.

I am first aid trained: my training tells me that I did the right thing, evacuating myself and the walking wounded, going to get help. But my God, it is hard, trying to not feel guilty.

Yesterday, Steve and I reassured each other that we had done the right thing. It helped, a bit. It was quite an emotional afternoon.

After that we all discussed July 7th, July 21st and the arming, or otherwise, of the police, with the Chief Constable, and we generally agreed that we were proud to have a police force who were not armed. I can’t say what else we discussed here as it is not for publication, and relates to the investigations of July, but I will say that Andy Trotter told a very funny anecdote about an escaped bull and a field of cows and a police marksman. Which made us all laugh.


Anonymous Andrew Richardson said...


I read your moving account in the Sunday Times. My question is this. Have you or the other victims you have got to know (from the bombings or from terrible rape experiences) managed to get the necessary help to quickly overcome their traumatic fears and panics? To what extent are people you know returning to living full lives, with these terrible memories no longer traumatic but instead ordinary?

There is now a method which can remove the trauma very quickly – I am talking of in a handful of sessions and often as little as one. It is called the REWIND or VK Fast Phobia Cure. This has been successfully used for deeply traumatic experiences. For example, a group has been working for a number of years with the victims in Northern Ireland. And in the past week for example in my private practice I have used REWIND to overcome the debilitating stage fright of a performer – the result of an experience nearly 20 years ago. Also, a thirty year old man with terrible childhood experiences is now free of these for the first time.

Please look at my site ( or go to or contact me directly by email. I can give information and direct people to therapists near them. There is for example q new London Human Givens Centre which has just opened in Harley Street.

You and the other bomb victims have suffering awfully and perhaps also have been subject to unwelcome pressures, even from well meaning helpers. But please don’t dismiss this email. Your article makes clear that many are still suffering and they deserve the opportunity to find out about Human Givens therapy and the REWIND.

Best wishes

Andrew Richardson

December 07, 2005 4:05 pm  

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