Three arrested ‘under Terrorism Act’ following Liverpool Women’s Hospital explosion
Three men have been arrested under “the Terrorism Act” according to a statement from Counter Terrorism Police North West, following a car explosion outside Liverpool Women’s Hospital.
The incident took place on Remembrance Sunday (14 November) right before the national two minutes’ silence was due to begin.
This is everything we know so far.
At 10:59pm on Sunday (14 November), police were alerted to reports of a car explosion at the Women’s Hospital in Liverpool city centre.
According to a statement from Merseyside Police, the car involved in the explosion was a taxi which pulled up to the hospital shortly before the explosion occurred.
The passenger of the car, male, was declared dead at the scene and is yet to be formally identified. The driver of the taxi, also male, was injured at the scene and remains in hospital in stable condition.
According to reports, the taxi driver pulled up outside the hospital and locked the suspected suicide bomber inside the car prior to the explosion.
Joanne Anderson, the Mayor of Liverpool, praised the “heroic” driver for his efforts to reduce the impact of the explosion.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, she said: “The taxi driver, in his heroic efforts, has managed to divert what could have been an absolutely awful disaster at the hospital.
“Our thanks go to him and our emergency services, and authorities have worked through the night to divert anything further and we’ve all been on standby and in constant contact to provide any support that’s needed.”
She added: “Well, we knew that the taxi driver had stood out and locked the doors, we knew that early on.”
Anderson added it was important not to get drawn into speculation about the incident.
On Sunday, images of a car on fire at the scene began to circulate online, as well as footage of a number of loud bands, and billowing smoke near the entrance to the hospital.
As of Monday (15 November), a police cordon has remained in place around Liverpool Women’s Hospital.
People are being allowed in and out of the hospital, but officers can be seen at the entrance to the building. Police are also stopping cars for checks as they enter the car park.
Officers are stationed around the perimeter of the hospital grounds and police tape has remained in place.
What have the authorities said?
Initially, a spokesperson for Merseyside Police said: “So far we understand that the car involved was a taxi which pulled up at the hospital shortly before the explosion occurred.
“We are keeping an open mind as to what caused the explosion, but given how it has happened - out of caution - counter terrorism police are leading the investigation supported by Merseyside Police.”
Chief Constable of Merseyside Police, Serena Kennedy, said: “While I understand that today’s incident may cause concern in our communities, it should be pointed out that events of this nature are very rare.
“Merseyside Police will continue to liaise with community groups, community leaders, partner agencies and individuals in the coming days and weeks to make sure any concerns are addressed and ensuring that we provide the best possible service to local people.
“There will also be an increased and visible police presence on the streets of Merseyside and I would encourage people to engage with my officers and raise any concerns they may have.”
Phil Garrigan, Chief Fire Officer of Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service, told reporters at the scene: “The operational crews extinguished the fire rapidly but as has been reiterated by the police chief constable, there was one fatality.
“Another individual had left the vehicle prior to the fire developing to the extent that it did.
“Our thoughts are with them and the families of those involved.”
According to reports, MI5 is also assisting in the investigation.
Has anyone been arrested?
Counter Terrorism Police Norther West have said that three men, aged 29, 26 and 26, have been arrested in connection with the blast.
They were detained in Sutcliffe Street, in Kensington area, and arrested under the Terrorism Act.
A statement from Counter Terrorism Police North West said: “Officers in Merseyside have made three arrested this afternoon [14 Nov] after a car explosion outside the Women’s Hospital in Liverpool.
“The men - aged 29, 26 and 21 - were detained in the Kensington area of the city and arrested under the Terrorism Act, in connection with the incident which occurred just before 11am [on Sunday 14 November].
“The passenger of the car - a man - was declared dead at the scene and is yet to be formally identified.
“The driver - also a man - was injured at the scene and remains in hospital in stable condition.
“Detectives from Counter Terrorism Police North West continue to keep an open mind about the cause of the explosion and are working closely with colleagues at Merseyside Police as the investigation continues at pace.”
What has the hospital said?
In a statement following the explosion, Liverpool Women’s Hospital said that visiting access had been restricted “until further notice” and patients were being diverted to other hospitals “where possible” throughout most of Sunday.
The latest statement from the hospital said that “patients are no longer being diverted to other hospitals” and “appointments will be going ahead as normal unless advised otherwise by the hospital”.
It said: “Anyone with appointments at the hospital will notice an increased security and police presence on site.
“Where possible we ask that anyone attending the hospital avoids bringing their vehicle.
“Until further notice anyone attending with a vehicle will need to park either in our overspill car park on Mulgrave Street (off Upper Parliament Street) or in designated parking spaces in residential areas near to the hospital.
“All access into the hospital building is via the new Neonatal Unit entrance until further notice.”
The hospital added: “We would like to say thank you for the co-operation and support of our patients, visitors and staff who have been impacted by this incident.
“We would also like to say thank you to Merseyside Police, Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service and all other emergency services who have supported the Trust.”
What has Boris Johnson said?
Following the news of the blast, Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted: “My thoughts are with all those affected by the awful incident in Liverpool today.
“I want to thank the emergency services for their quick response and professionalism, and the police for their ongoing work on the investigation.”
Home Secretary Priti Patel also tweeted: “I am being kept regularly updated on the awful incident at Liverpool Women’s Hospital.
“Our police and emergency services are working hard to establish what happened and it is right they are given the time and space to do so.”