Liverpool bomber Emad al Swealmeen died in blast from IED he made with ‘murderous intent’, coroner rules

The Liverpool terror attacker died from the blast from his improvised explosive device after calling his brother to warn he might do “something bad”, a coroner has said.

Emad al Swealmeen died in a taxi outside Liverpool Women’s Hospital when the device detonated on Remembrance Sunday on 14 November.

He made it with “murderous intent” at a rented flat in Liverpool and designed it to project shrapnel, said senior coroner Andre Rebello.

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Liverpool bombing: Who was Emad al Swealmeen?

Mr Rebello said it was still “unclear as to whether he intended the device to detonate when it did”, as he recorded a narrative conclusion at the inquest.

“(Al Swealmeen) died from an explosion and subsequent fire caused by an improvised explosive device which he had carried into the taxi,” said the coroner.

“It is found he manufactured the improvised explosive device, designed to project shrapnel, with murderous intent.”

Liverpool Hospital explosion - Taxi driver David Perry
Taxi driver David Perry survived the blast and was able to run from the car

The inquest heard al Swealmeen had called his brother in America and suggested he might do “something bad” two days before the attack.

Mr Rebello told the inquest: “He says towards the end of call Emad said something like ‘if I do something bad that will affect the family what do you think?’

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“He replied something like ‘don’t do s***’, advising him as an older brother, although this was something which caused him concern, knowing his previous issues.”

No one else died in the blast, which happened moments after the taxi pulled up, and the cabbie who took al Swealmeen to the hospital had a miraculous escape and managed to run from the car.

Iraq-born al Swealmeen had come to the UK legally on a visa in May 2014, said the coroner.

“Shortly after his arrival he claimed, it is believed falsely, that he was of Syrian heritage and claimed asylum as a refugee from that country,” said Mr Rebello.

An armed police officer holds a breaching shotgun, used to blast the hinges off a door, at an address in Rutland Avenue in Sefton Park, after an explosion at the Liverpool Women's Hospital killed one person and injured another. Three men have been arrested under the Terrorism Act.
Police at an address in Rutland Avenue, where the device is believed to have been made

All his asylum claims were rejected – the last in November 2020.

The inquest at Liverpool Coroner’s Court heard claims that al Swealmeen had converted from Islam to Christianity in order to improve his asylum chances.

Detective Chief Inspector Andrew Meeks told the inquest he agreed, as becoming a Christian would have made him “liable to persecution on return to Syria or Iraq”.

Mr Rebello added: “When premises were searched both a Holy Koran and prayer mat were present and it was fairly evident that he carried out the religious duties of someone who is a follower of Islam, not withstanding the reported conversion to Christianity.”

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Mr Meeks said it was accurate to describe the Rutland Avenue address as a “bomb-making factory” but that there was so far no evidence to suggest anyone else had helped make the device.

He told the inquest that al Swealmeen had bought 2,000 ball bearings and that items likely to have been intended for use in improvised firearms were also found at his previous address in Sutcliffe Street.

The coroner added that the attacker had previously been in jail in the Middle East for a serious assault, as well as being in trouble in Liverpool for possession of an offensive weapon.

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