Monday 17 December 2018


... in the Provisional IRA detonated a car bomb outside Harrods department store in London, killing six people.  The device went off at 13:20 on a Saturday afternoon as the streets were crowded with Christmas shoppers.

A warning was phoned through to a branch of the Samaritans approximately 37 minutes before the explosion.  Police arrived on the scene a few minutes before the bomb went off and were approaching the blue Austin as it detonated.  Two officers were killed outright, a third died a week later and 14 others were injured.  One of those injured lost both of his legs.  Three civilians were also killed and 76 injured, including nine children.  A police car that was approaching the vehicle took the full force of the blast, possibly preventing further fatalities among members of the public.

The five people killed outright were;

WPC Jane Arbuthnot of the Metropolitan Police, 22, from Kingston-upon-Thames
Philip Geddes, 24, a journalist from Barrow-in-Furness
Jasmine Cochrane-Patrick, 25, mother of one from St John's Wood
Sgt Noel Lane of the Metropolitan Police, 28, married and from Croydon
Kenneth Salvesden, 31, an American who was working in London at the time

Inspector Stephen Dodd, 34, died from his injuries on Christmas Eve.  Inspector Dodd was from Carshalton and left a wife and two daughters.

The head of the anti-terrorist squad, William Hucklesbury, claimed that the warning was designed to lure officers to the scene in order to kill them, with scant regard for civilian life.  The following day the IRA admitted its members had carried out the attack, but that they had not been authorised to do so by the 'Army Council'.  The Guardian claimed in 2006 that the bombing had been ordered by notorious republican Thomas 'Slab' Murphy and that he now owned a flat behind the Harrods store as part of his multi-million pound property empire.  Murphy was later imprisoned for tax evasion in the Republic, but never faced a court for the many murders and terrorist acts he was reported to have ordered during his command of the IRA's South Armagh Brigade.

The two young daughters of Inspector Stephen Dodd attend his funeral