Hero cabbie David Perry, pictured with his wife Rachel, has shared his first statement since the Remembrance Sunday terror attack
The taxi driver who survived the Liverpool Poppy Day terror attack has said it is a ‘miracle that I’m alive’.
In a statement released through police, David Perry and his wife Rachel thanked the public for their ‘amazing generosity’ in the wake of the Remembrance Sunday attack.
Emad Al Swealmeen, 32, died when he detonated an explosive device in the back of the taxi outside the Liverpool Women’s Hospital just before 11am on November 14, but taxi driver David Perry managed to escape with injuries.
It is believed he had intented to attack veterans and mourners outside the same Liverpool Cathedral where he converted to Christianity in 2017.
The cabbie’s statement said: ‘On behalf of myself, Rachel and our family, we would like to say thank you to everyone for all your get-well wishes and for your amazing generosity. We are completely overwhelmed with it.
‘A special thanks to the staff at the Liverpool Women’s Hospital, the staff and medical team at Aintree Hospital, Merseyside Police and Counter Terrorism Policing, who have all been amazing.
‘I feel like it’s a miracle that I’m alive and so thankful that no one else was injured in such an evil act.
‘I now need time to try to come to terms with what’s happened and focus on my recovery both mentally and physically.
‘Please be kind, be vigilant and stay safe.’
Police are investigating the incident, and while an Islamist plot is one line of inquiry, it is understood detectives are still keeping an open mind and the motivation is yet to be established.
Security services are still thought to be working on the theory that the hospital was the intended target.
It comes as the people across Liverpool have been praised for ‘standing shoulder to shoulder’ in the wake of the Remembrance Sunday attack, as the public were reminded they are the ‘eyes and ears’ for police in the fight against terror.
Emad Al Swealmeen, 32, died when the taxi he was a passenger in exploded outside the Liverpool Women’s Hospital just before 11am on November 14, but taxi driver David Perry managed to escape with injuries and has now said it was a miracle he survived the attack
One week on from the explosion outside the city’s women’s hospital, officials spoke of their gratitude for the ‘patience and understanding’ of locals as investigations continue.
The bomb used in the incident was a homemade explosive with ball bearings attached to it and police said it could have caused ‘significant injury or death’.
Officers are ‘working round the clock’ on their investigation and police said there is more to be done in the bid to ‘defeat terrorism’, as they vowed to make efforts to ensure the safety of the city as the festive season approaches.
Tributes have been paid to the reaction of the public, as well as emergency responders and hospital staff, in an open letter from police and local political figures seven days after the blast.
The letter, published on Sunday, is on behalf of Merseyside Police Chief Constable Serena Kennedy, Mayor Joanne Anderson, Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner Emily Spurrell and Combined Authority Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram.
Praising people for coming together ‘in the face of adversity’, it stated: ‘The ultimate goal of terrorism is to create discord, distrust and fear in our communities, and whilst we know some people may be anxious and concerned we have seen people across Liverpool standing shoulder to shoulder.
Pictured: An aerial view of the damaged car being removed by forensic officers after the explosion at the Liverpool Women’s Hospital on just before 11am Remembrance Sunday
‘And that’s because Liverpool, which has a proud heritage as a multi-cultural city, and the wider Merseyside region always pull together at times like this and the pride of all our communities is there for all to see.
‘This is an area defined by its friendliness, kindness and spirit of togetherness and we are immensely grateful for the patience and understanding shown by residents (whilst police investigations continue) but not at all surprised.’
They praised the ‘phenomenal work’ of management and staff at the hospital, where more than 150 babies have been delivered since last Sunday and specialist care given to more than 60 newborns on the neo-natal unit.
Appealing for the public’s help, those behind the letter stated: ‘Communities defeat terrorism, which is why we all need to work together.’
Al Swealmeen, an asylum seeker who had converted to Christianity, reportedly arrived in the UK from the Middle East in 2014 and had an application for asylum rejected the following year, but had a fresh appeal ongoing at the time of his death.
Damning new information revealed today that the failed asylum seeker, then 25, had told immigration officials he used a falsified visa and passport during a screening interview just days after arriving in Britain.
Emad Al-Swealmeen, 32, pictured, was of Iraqi origin but used a Jordanian passport and visa to deceive border control when he arrived in the UK as an desperate asylum seeker in 2014
A 35-page Home Office dossier, obtained by The Sun, shows Al Swealmeen’s ability to weave an elaborate web of lies that he used to fool immigration officers, resulting in him being able to remain in Britain for seven years after his application was foiled.
Claiming he was from war-torn Syria in a bid to gain the right to live in the UK, the fanatic cited ‘psychological problems’ and told officers he would be killed if he was not granted refugee status.
Suspicious border force staff grilled him on everything from his time spent with family in Syria, his journey to the UK and the Jordanian passport before forcing a confession out of the manipulative liar.
Investigators eventually issued Al Swealmeen with a formal warning, telling him he had ‘lied and used deception to enter the UK’.
His formal asylum bid was rejected a year later, and he was refused the right to appeal in 2017.
The shocking findings come as police revealed Liverpool bomber Emad Al Swealmeen started building his ‘bomb factory’ at a rented bedsit as early as April.
His other desperate bids for asylum included converting to Christianity, after he was baptised and confirmed at Liverpool Cathedral in 2017.
Immigration sources said that Al Swealmeen used a false identity and multiple appeals to ‘frustrate’ attempts to remove him from the UK before he tried to kill women and babies on Remembrance Sunday.