'It's a miracle I'm alive': Liverpool taxi driver speaks out

21 November 2021, 13:17 | Updated: 21 November 2021, 14:34

David Perry and his wife Rachel thanked the public for their well wishes.
David Perry and his wife Rachel thanked the public for their well wishes. Picture: Greater Manchester Police

By Elizabeth Haigh

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The taxi driver who survived the Remembrance Day blast in Liverpool has said "it's a miracle that I'm alive."

David Perry and his wife Rachel thanked the public for their support in a statement released by police.

The statement said: "On behalf of myself, Rachel and our family, we would like to say thank you to everyone for all your get-well wishes and for your amazing generosity. We are completely overwhelmed with it.

"A special thanks to the staff at the Liverpool Women's Hospital, the staff and medical team at Aintree Hospital, Merseyside Police and Counter Terrorism Policing, who have all been amazing.

"I feel like it's a miracle that I'm alive and so thankful that no one else was injured in such an evil act. I now need time to try to come to terms with what's happened and focus on my recovery both mentally and physically.

"Please be kind, be vigilant and stay safe."

The blast occurred just before 11am outside the Liverpool Women's Hospital.

Read more: Liverpool bomb could have caused 'significant injury or death', police say

CCTV footage shows Mr Perry's taxi pulling up outside the hospital, before a large explosion occurred inside the vehicle.

Mr Perry can be seen escaping from the car seconds later.

Emergency services rushed to the scene, but the passenger was killed in the blast.

Police confirmed the passenger, 32-year-old Al Swealmeen, had a homemade device which included "ball bearings attached to it which would have acted as shrapnel."

Read more: 'Vile': Tory councillor apologises for Jeremy Corbyn Liverpool bomb attack tweet

Assistant Chief Constable Russ Jackson, Head of Counter Terrorism Police North West said on Friday: "We continue to make significant progress in relation to the counterterrorism incident at the Liverpool Women's Hospital."

He added: "Had it detonated in different circumstances we believe it would have caused significant injury or death."

He said purchases made to create the device "spanned many months and Al Swealmeen has used many aliases."

Emad Al Swealmeen, also known as Enzo Almeni, is believed to have arrived in the UK several years ago. Four other men were arrested in connection with the blast, and have been released.

Home Secretary Priti Patel announced in the aftermath of the attack that the UK's threat level has been raised to "severe", which means an attack is "highly likely".

Read more: CCTV footage shows Remembrance Sunday blast outside Liverpool hospital

This is a result of there being two terror attacks within a month, following the Liverpool blast and the killing of Sir David Amess.

The chief executive of Liverpool Women's Hospital Kathryn Thomson has paid tribute to staff and emergency service workers following the weekend explosion.

She said the aftermath of the attack was "extremely upsetting and traumatising" for people associated with the hospital, but thanked emergency services for their response.

Services at the hospital are now running "as close to normal as can be expected," she added.

A letter from police and political figures was also released today, paying tributes to the reaction of the public, as well as emergency responders and hospital staff.

The letter is on behalf of Merseyside Police Chief Constable Serena Kennedy, mayor Joanne Anderson, Merseyside police and crime commissioner Emily Spurrell and metro mayor Steve Rotheram.

Praising people for coming together "in the face of adversity", it said: "The ultimate goal of terrorism is to create discord, distrust and fear in our communities, and whilst we know some people may be anxious and concerned we have seen people across Liverpool standing shoulder to shoulder.

"And that's because Liverpool, which has a proud heritage as a multicultural city, and the wider Merseyside region, always pull together at times like this and the pride of all our communities is there for all to see."