Dad-to-be hails 'hero' taxi driver for saving family from bomber

‘Thank you for protecting my baby girl’: Father-to-be hails ‘hero’ taxi driver for saving his girlfriend and unborn child after he ‘locked suicide bomber in his cab’ before blast outside hospital

  • Terrorist tried to maim patients at Liverpool Women’s Hospital by blowing up taxi
  • A number of young families including Martin Owen’s were inside at the time
  • Cabbie David Perry has been praised for minimising damage and saving lives

A father-to-be whose girlfriend was heavily pregnant with their baby at Liverpool Women’s Hospital says heroic cabbie David Perry saved his family’s life.

Terrorist Emad Jamil Al Swealmeen launched a botched bid to maim patients at the hospital just before 11am on Remembrance Sunday when he detonated an explosive in the back of a taxi.

Glass was sent flying as the car’s windows blow out, before a plume of smoke billowed upwards. Around nine seconds later, dazed driver Mr Perry opened his door and staggers out.

Despite his injuries, he warned others to stay away as he stumbled towards the hospital reception with his head in his hands, with witnesses reporting that he locked the suicide bomber in the car, which was engulfed in flames half a minute later. 

Mr Perry was widely hailed for his heroic actions, including by the Prime Minister, who said he behaved ‘with incredible presence of mind and bravery.’

Now, crane operator Martin Owen, who was inside the hospital with his partner at the time, shared his personal thanks to the driver for helping to protect the many young families in the vicinity.

Crane operator Martin Owen, who was inside the hospital with his partner at the time, shared his personal thanks to the driver for helping to protect the many young families in the vicinity

Terrorist Emad Jamil Al Swealmeen launched a botched bid to maim patients at the hospital just before 11am on Remembrance Sunday when he detonated an explosive in the back of a taxi.

Hero taxi driver David Perry (with his wife Rachel), who apparently locked a suicide bomber in his car before a blast ripped through the vehicle outside a maternity hospital in Liverpool on Sunday

In a Facebook post, he wrote: ‘My girlfriend who’s 33 weeks pregnant with [our] baby girl was at the hospital today when this happened. 

‘The man in the picture is David, he is the taxi driver who locked the person in his car to protect all the women and babies. 

‘From the bottom of my heart, thank you for protecting my girlfriend and baby girl, you are a hero, I hope you make a full recovery.

‘Myself and the other fathers of the women and babies in the hospital owe you.’

Amid the fallout from Mr Perry’s heroics, it emerged today that the bomber was allowed to stay in the UK for seven years, despite multiple failed claims for asylum and being arrested for ‘waving’ a ‘large knife’ in public.

Enzo Almeni, 32, appealed every time the Home Office turned down his application for permanent residency because the authorities believed he was lying about being Syrian and living in Iraq with his mother having reportedly arrived in the UK without any ID documents to prove it.

The car-mad terrorist changed his name Emad Jamil Al Swealmeen by deed poll to Enzo Almeni, in tribute to Ferrari founder Enzo Ferrari. 

He claimed it was to make it more Western and easier for people to pronounce, but there were suspicions it was because his birth name was Jordanian and not Syrian.

Malcolm Hitchcott, who with his wife Elizabeth took him in for almost a year and helped him convert to Christianity, said: ‘The UK asylum people were never convinced he was Syrian and he was refused asylum in 2014. He had his case rejected because he has been sectioned due to some mental health incident where he was waving a knife at people from an overpass’.

Latest Home Office figures from June show that there are currently 125,000 asylum cases being considered by the British authorities. 

Of these 5,900 people, including Almeni, were awaiting the outcome of an appeal, and approximately 39,500 people are waiting to be deported. 

In 2013 around 47,000 failed asylum seekers and foreign criminals were deported. This dropped to a low of 8,000 last year.

The Home Office is yet to comment on Almeni’s case. MailOnline has asked if their policies will change in wake of the Liverpool attack.

Emad Jamil Al Swealmeen, 32, (left) was killed after a homemade ball-bearing device exploded inside a taxi he rode to Liverpool Women’s Hospital on Remembrance Sunday just seconds before the 11am minute’s silence. He changed his name to Enzo Almeni and was taken in by a British Christian couple left heartbroken by his attack (pictured right with Malcolm Hitchcott)

Rutland Avenue, where Almeni lived and built his bomb, remains sealed off today. It is also the place where he was picked up in the taxi that later exploded outside the Women’s Hospital in Liverpool

Forensic officers at Liverpool Women’s Hospital today where they continue to gather evidence after Sunday’s explosion

These are the events that led to the explosion outside the Liverpool Women’s Hospital and the arrests and raids that followed

Police said Almeni had been living at a hostel for asylum seekers – run by private contracting giant Serco – in Sutcliffe Street, Liverpool, ‘for some time’ before renting a ‘bomb factory’ two miles away in Rutland Avenue, paid for by his job as a pizza chef. He is also said to have worked in a cake shop.

Asylum seekers in the UK are not normally allowed to work but he was allowed to circumvent the ban because of his current appeal, which was likely to be on the basis of his mental health problems. 

It is not yet known when he arrived in the UK but he first became known to the authorities after being arrested for possession of a ‘large knife’ after the rejection of his asylum claim in 2014, resulting in him being sectioned under the Mental Health Act and hospitalised for several months.

On Sunday Almeni carried a homemade ‘Mother of Satan’ ball bearing bomb used by ISIS extremists to ’cause maximum carnage’ at a maternity hospital and may have been driven to take revenge after his asylum bids kept being turned down, it was claimed today. 

A security source told The Sun: ‘One of the issues being looked at is whether this unresolved grievance pushed him over the edge and prompted him to carry out the attack.’

Almeni killed himself after the homemade device exploded as his taxi pulled up at Liverpool Women’s Hospital just before before the 11am minute’s silence on Remembrance Sunday.

His bomb was made using homemade TATP explosives. TATP is unstable and known as a ‘Mother of Satan’ because it is liable to blow up accidentally. 

It was used by Islamist terrorists in the Paris suicide attacks of 2015, the Manchester Arena bombing in 2017 and the failed Parsons Green Underground station attack. 

Just like Almeni, Parsons Green bomber Ahmed Hassan had been taken in by a family before turning to terrorism.

Police and MI5 will be trying to work out if he was radicalised, and by who, and how he learned to make ISIS’ bomb of choice.

David Videcette, a former 7/7 counter-terror detective at Scotland Yard, said today: ‘There’s now a dispute about who exactly Emad al Swealmeen really was, and where he actually came from. 

‘This is always a problem with asylum applicants who destroy their documents before arrival. I know one thing, he didn’t learn how to make bombs while working in cake shops’.

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