A HERO taxi driver thwarted a Remembrance Day bomb tragedy by trapping a suspected terrorist in his cab.
Brave Dave Perry leapt from the car and locked the doors as the device exploded at Liverpool Women’s Hospital yesterday — killing only the male passenger who carried the bomb.
Last night, David was stable in hospital with burns and shrapnel injuries, including damage to his ear.
Billy Darwin was among those paying tribute last night, posting online: “DAVID PERRY The Liverpool HERO!!!!”
He added: “David nearly paid the ultimate price to save others, apparently not giving anything a second thought besides making sure he went above and beyond to keep the people of Our City safe!”
Stephen Thomas added: “The driver is my mate, and spotted the passenger acting suspiciously, so he jumped out the car.”
He went on: “This guy blew himself up, but my friend is OK. He sustained a few injuries, burns, burst eardrums and some shrapnel, but he’s OK.”
Jay Keats responded: “Your mate is a hero, locking the car too. Well done that man.”
However cabbie Kev Cuthbertson posted: “It’s my mate who got blown up. He’s in a bad, bad way.
“He’s a fellow driver on delta. He’s had his ear sewn back on, got burns and shrapnel wounds and other pretty serious injuries. He is a hero. When he noticed the bomb, he locked the scumbag in the car. But took the brunt of the blast.”
Last night, an online fundraising page was set up to help David.
The organiser wrote: “His quick-thinking possibly saved a lot of lives.”
The car blew up in Liverpool at 10.59am, killing its “suspicious-looking” passenger as the country prepared to mark the Fallen at 11am.
Pals of the injured taxi driver, who was in a stable condition last night, said he acted courageously to thwart a bombing of the hospital, where 30 babies are born each day.
Three men aged 21, 26 and 29 were later arrested elsewhere in the city under the Terrorism Act.
The blast occurred close to the Liverpool Cathedral which was hosting one of the country’s largest Remembrance Sunday services with more than 2,000 people. It is less than a mile from the hospital.
One source said Mr Perry grew suspicious after the passenger asked him to drive to the cathedral, so stopped at Liverpool Women’s Hospital instead to raise the alarm.
Cops are exploring a theory the detonator in a device exploded while the main charge did not.
Last night, security expert Will Geddes, of International Corporate Protection, suggested IS could be behind the blast because of:
- TARGET — IS has targeted several hospitals and medical facilities in Afghanistan recently.
- TIMING — around 11am on Remembrance Sunday as the nation honoured its war dead.
- CAUSE — Mr Geddes suspects it was a VBIED (vehicle-borne improvised explosive device) also associated with the fanatics.
Graphic pictures and videos captured the private hire taxi with smoke and flames billowing from it near the main entrance to Liverpool Women’s Hospital as horrified staff and patients looked on. Detectives had not last night declared the blast a terrorist attack. Security sources said “all options are on the table”, as a major investigation began.
Spooks were urgently trying to find out the identity of the dead passenger to establish if he had appeared on any intelligence-led lists of terror suspects.
Sources said that the next 24 hours would be critical, with experienced anti-terror detectives from Scotland Yard also being asked to lend their expertise.
He’s had his ear sewn back on, got burns and shrapnel wounds and other pretty serious injuries.Jay Keats
Merseyside Police confirmed it had handed over the investigation to colleagues from the North West Counter-Terrorism unit, which regularly targets Islamist and far-right inspired terror suspects.
Merseyside Police’s chief constable Serena Kennedy gave a statement outside the hospital, saying: “So far we understand that the car involved was a taxi which pulled up at the hospital shortly before the explosion occurred.
“Work is still going on to establish what has happened, and could take some time before we are in a position to confirm anything.
“We are keeping an open mind as to what caused the explosion but given how it has happened, out of caution, Counter Terrorism Police are leading the investigation supported by Merseyside Police.”
She also confirmed one person had died in the explosion — believed to be the bomber — and another was being treated for non-life-threatening injuries.
Just hours after the blast, residents of a street near the city’s Sefton Park were told to remain in their homes by armed police.
More than a dozen officers sealed off the district’s Rutland Avenue.
A police spokesman confirmed that the activity, focussing on a semi-detached property that appeared to be unoccupied, was linked to the hospital explosion. One resident said officers had been negotiating with a resident.
Meanwhile, armed cops descended on a house in Kensington — two miles from the hospital.
Neighbours said two men were taken away shortly after 4pm.
Resident Chris Lee, 31, said: “They were bundled into a van. They had been grabbed from one of the houses. I had never seen them before.”
People living near the hospital had reported hearing loud bangs before seeing smoke rising.
Dad-of-two Matt Kerr, 52, said: “I had just sat down to watch the Remembrance Sunday service when I heard a bang. I looked out and saw smoke, then there were police everywhere and helicopters.
“It’s scary to think someone might have wanted to hurt women and children.”
Shop worker Sandra Hughes, 35, said: “I saw people being turned away from hospital. It’s terrifying to think that someone wanted to attack a hospital.”
My thoughts are with all those affected by the awful incident in Liverpool todayPM Boris Johnson
Liverpool Women’s Hospital featured on hit Channel 4 series One Born Every Minute and sees 500,000 patients a year.
Around 1,350 staff work there. The hospital — where Coleen Rooney gave birth to her four sons — was immediately closed to visitors and a police cordon was thrown around it.
At the time, military personnel, veterans and local dignitaries were taking part in the cathedral service just a mile away. Those who could not get inside watched on big screens set up in the grounds.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted: “My thoughts are with all those affected by the awful incident in Liverpool today.
“I want to thank the emergency services for their quick response and professionalism, and the police for their ongoing work.”
London Mayor Sadiq Khan added: “London stands with Liverpool. My thoughts are with everyone affected by the terrible incident outside Liverpool Women’s Hospital.”
Hallmarks of ISIS
IF you look at all the pieces, this bears the hallmarks of a terror attack — and just like IS.
Firstly, because of the target and where it happened. IS has targeted hospitals and medical facilities in Afghanistan recently.
Secondly, because of the date. It’s very representative because it’s Remembrance Sunday.
The timing is incredibly significant. It was at 10.59am — on the nose.
And thirdly, because of what was used. It sounds like a VBIED (vehicle-borne improvised explosive device) from what I’ve heard.You’ve got too many joined up pieces to make it a coincidence, plus the fact the attack was in Liverpool as opposed to London.