Taxi Explosion Outside UK Hospital Declared Terrorist Incident

Four people are in custody after a taxi exploded outside Liverpool Women’s Hospital on Sunday, killing one passenger. Meanwhile, the driver of the taxi has been praised for his “heroic efforts.”
Taxi Explosion Outside UK Hospital Declared Terrorist Incident
Stills from a video showing the explosion outside Liverpool Women's Hospital. Photo: BBC.

An explosion that took place outside a hospital in Liverpool on Sunday has been declared a terrorist incident, UK police have said.

A taxi exploded and burst into flames outside Liverpool Women’s Hospital shortly before 11AM on Sunday, just as the UK was due to observe a moment of silence on Remembrance Sunday.

The male passenger died in the explosion while the driver managed to escape the car and was treated in hospital before being released today.

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Three men aged 29, 26 and 21 were arrested in the Kensington area of Liverpool, in northwest England, on Sunday under counterterrorism laws, while on Monday police revealed the arrest of a fourth man, aged 20, also on suspicion of terror offences.

As a result of the blast, the UK terror level has been raised from “substantial” to “severe.”

“The circumstances, as we understand them to be, are that yesterday shortly before 11AM, a local taxi driver picked up a fare in the Rutland Avenue area of Liverpool,” Assistant Chief Constable Russ Jackson, Counter Terrorism North West, said on Monday in a statement.

“The fare, a man, had asked to be taken to the Liverpool Women's Hospital which was about 10 minutes away. As the taxi approached the drop off point at the hospital, an explosion occurred from within [the] car, which quickly engulfed it in flames.”

Jackson said that initial enquiries indicate that the explosive device was brought into the taxi by the passenger, who police believe they have identified but cannot confirm at this time.

“Our enquiries indicate that an improvised explosive device has been manufactured and our assumption so far is that this was built by the passenger in the taxi,” he said. 

“The reason why he then took it to the Women's Hospital is unknown, as is the reason for its sudden explosion. We are of course aware that there were remembrance events just a short distance away from the Hospital and that the ignition occurred shortly before 11AM. We cannot at this time draw any connection with this but it is a line of inquiry we are pursuing.

“Although, the motivation for this incident is yet to be understood, given all the circumstances, it has been declared a terrorist incident and Counter Terrorism Policing are continuing with the investigation.”

Meanwhile, the Mayor of Liverpool has paid tribute to the taxi’s driver, named locally as David Perry.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme, Mayor Joanne Anderson thanked “the taxi driver and his heroic efforts,” which “managed to divert what could be an absolutely awful disaster at the hospital.”