I still remember the night of Friday the 30th of April 1999 as clearly as if it happened only last week, not twelve years ago. It was a beautiful spring evening and I was out having some drinks in Newcastle with work colleagues. When I came home and checked the TV news I learned of the bombing of the Admiral Duncan pub in Soho, London earlier that evening. A nail bomb exploded inside the pub, with no warning. It killed three people and injured seventy, several of whom lost limbs.
It was the third in a series of nail bomb attacks that April, the first in Brixton leaving us with the once-seen-never-forgotten image of a CT scan of the head of a 23 month old boy with a nail embedded in his brain (thankfully he made a full recovery.) The first two bombs caused many injuries, but the third was the first to cause deaths.
The bomber was arrested soon after the Admiral Duncan atrocity. He was a neo-Nazi scumbag hoping to incite race war by bombing places with large ethnic minority communities, and just anyone else he didn’t like. He targeted the Admiral Duncan because it’s a gay pub.
I can remember being particularly shaken by the news report, thinking I’d been out that evening, just doing exactly the same as the patrons of the Admiral Duncan, enjoying a few drinks with friends on a fine sunny evening in a busy pub. Imagining the carnage of a nail bomb going off in a busy pub just like the one I’d been in made me realise how some horror like that could strike any of us any time.
I don’t want to use the name of the bomber. I get sickened when I see the names of murderers become famous while the names of their victims are forgotten. So let me leave you with the names of three people who died simply for being in a gay pub targeted by a man filled with hate.
Andrea Dykes. Nik Moore. John Light.
Remember them, not the bastard who killed them.