On Saturday, December 17, 1983 a car bomb ripped through one of the busiest streets in London that was packed with Christmas shoppers.
Three police officers and three civilians died when the device exploded outside the famous Harrods department store in Knightsbridge. Ninety others were injured as the IRA stepped up its campaign in Britain.
Philip Geddes (24), a journalist who heard about the alert and had gone to the scene; Jasmine Cochrane-Patrick (25), and US citizen Kenneth Salvesen (28) lost their lives that day.
Sergeant Noel Lane (28) and Constable Jane Arbuthnot (22) also died at the scene. Inspector Stephen Dodd (34) succumbed to his injuries in hospital on Christmas Eve. Relatives will remember the victims in Knightsbridge today.
Susanne Dodd, daughter of Stephen, will also deliver a message to the UK government, as many IRA victims still await compensation from Libya over the Semtex used in bombings. She said: “It is evident that this government has no regard for my poor dad and all the other victims and this is why UK victims of Gaddafi/IRA terrorism are still awaiting for compensation.
“Dad, despite knowing he was in tremendous danger, continued to direct people away from the deadly car bomb. “He also evacuated children to safety who had been visiting Father Christmas within the store. “This car bomb had been packed with shrapnel such as nails, screws and bolts to cause unimaginable loss of life.
“As a consequence of this IRA terrorist attack my dad sustained horrific injuries, as he had been adjacent to the car bomb. I was seven years old and I can still remember it being Christmas and praying to Father Christmas to bring my dad home. I’ve never recovered from the loss. I still think of him every day.”
The families of US citizens caught up in the blast have already received compensation for their loss and injuries. Ms Dodd added: “However, I’m encouraged by the US victims’ support.”
Jonathan Ganesh, from the Docklands Victims Association, suffered life-changing injuries in a separate IRA bomb outrage in London, and has been leading the fight for compensation.
“Those bereaved and injured in this attack that held US passports, with direct support of their US government, secured substantial compensation from Libya,” he said.
“However, our own UK government, astonishingly, told their victims to resolve this matter with the Libyan government by themselves and refused to open this matter at government level.
“The UK government continues to have no regard whatsoever for its own victims of Gaddafi/IRA terrorism despite overwhelming public support for our campaign for equality.
“The US victims of the Harrods attack, who will be attending our memorial, will also be supporting our campaign for equality.” The relatives and victims will gather at Harrods at 1pm.
Mark Bain – Education Correspondent, Belfast Telegraph