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ago, on the evening of 30th April 1999, that the Admiral Duncan in Soho's famous Old Compton Street was the scene of a bomb blast that killed three people and wounded around 70. The bomb was the third that had been planted by Neo-Nazi David Copeland, who was attempting to stir up ethnic and homophobic tensions by carrying out a series of bombings. We now remember that horrific event and hear from Michael Murphy who followed the trial of this racist homophobe at the UK's principal criminal court.

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Old Bailey


For some strange reason I felt inexplicably compelled to attend the trial of 24 year-old nobody, David James Copeland. This is the twisted youth whose bigoted evil ultimately led to the senseless murders of Nicholas Moore, Andrea Dykes and John Light at last April's third and final nail-bombing at the Admiral Duncan pub in Soho.

As we sat huddled in the crowded well within the hallowed portals of The Old Bailey's imposing, dark, wood-panelled Court Number One on June 5th we finally got our first glimpse of the monster who had succeeded, with such ease, to violently shatter so many innocent lives.



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                                                 Copeland



As the charges were read to him, Copeland cut a pathetic figure in the dock. A short, podgy, surly-looking youth with unkempt mousey hair, he was dressed in creased, dark trousers and an open-necked grey cotton shirt. As his father looked down from the public gallery above, Copeland sat impassively in the glass-enclosed dock, flanked on either side by half-a-dozen burly-looking security guards.


His expression was sullen, almost challenging, as he gruffly entered guilty pleas to the charges of causing those three fateful explosions in Brixton, Brick Lane and Soho. He denied the three charges of murder, instead offering pleas to the lesser charges of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

The Crown had earlier refused to accept these pleas, and thus the die had been cast. The burden of proof had moved from the prosecution to the defence. Copeland, as expected, played the 'nutty' card. His defence would contend that he suffered from mental abnormalities that rendered him incapable of rational reason.

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No 1 Court

Opening for the Crown, Mr Nigel Sweeney QC, outlined the events leading to last year's three tragic nail bombings. The court learned that Copeland had formerly been a member of the far-right British National Party, and had been impressed by the carnage caused by the Atlanta bombing during the 1996 Olympics. At the time he was just 19 years-old.

He had admitted to detectives that he "fervently" believed in the white-supremacist doctrine of the German Nazi Party, telling them that he read Hitler's 'Mien Kampffe' avidly. During one police interview, Copeland said: "I am a Nazi, whatever you want to call me. I believe in a ruling master race. Racial dominance should belong to us."

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