An asylum seeker who detonated a bomb outside a hospital had a grievance against the British state because his asylum claim was rejected, a police investigation has found.
Emad Al Swealmeen, 32, detonated the device, which he had made himself, while in a taxi outside Liverpool Women’s Hospital just before 11am on November 14, 2021.
Driver David Perry managed to escape from the Ford Focus taxi following the blast, which killed Al Swealmeen.
The explosion, captured on hospital CCTV, propelled ball bearings forward through the vehicle to the extent the front windscreen was forced out and travelled 16 metres, where it hit a tree, and damage was caused to the windows of the hospital building.
Detective Superintendent Andy Meeks, of Counter Terrorism Policing North West, told a briefing today that it was believed Al Swealmeen intended to go into the hospital and detonate the device, but it was likely that it exploded earlier than planned. He said there was no evidence anyone else was involved in the attack.
Emad Al Swealmeen, 32, detonated the device, which he had made himself, while in a taxi outside Liverpool Women’s Hospital just before 11am on November 14, 2021
Al Swealmeen arrived in the UK several years ago, and mostly lived in Liverpool, where he was being supported by Christian volunteers from a network of churches who help asylum seekers
A police report on the investigation said there was no evidence Al Swealmeen held extremist views.
It said: ‘It seems most likely that Al Swealmeen’s grievance against the British state for failing to accept his asylum claim compounded his mental ill health which in turn fed that grievance and ultimately a combination of those factors led him to undertake the attack.’
Mr Meeks said Al Swealmeen, who was born in Iraq, went to considerable lengths to stay in the country, including converting to Christianity, although the authenticity of his conversion was in doubt.
Al Swealmeen, who relocated from Iraq to Jordan in the 1990s, came to the UK in 2014, having applied for a visa in Abu Dhabi claiming he wanted to travel for a holiday and to watch the filming of Britain’s Got Talent in Belfast.
He falsely claimed to be a Syrian national when interviewed by Home Office officials but his asylum claim was rejected.
Mr Meeks said Al Swealmeen began a conversion to Christianity in 2015, when his asylum appeal rights were exhausted, and was baptised at Liverpool Cathedral in November that year.
Driver David Perry managed to escape from the Ford Focus taxi following the blast, which killed Al Swealmeen. The car is seen being taken away
Police outside Liverpool Women’s Hospital after the explosion in November 2021
An aerial view of the scene outside Liverpool Women’s Hospital following the blast
He forwarded letters of support from members of the church community to the Home Office to support his asylum claim in 2017.
In January 2020, a further asylum claim was rejected on the basis that he had not truly accepted the Christian faith and rejected others.
Mr Meeks said Al Swealmeen’s deterioration in mental health coincided with developments in his asylum case. He was detained by police under the Mental Health Act in 2015 and was later sectioned.
Police found Al Swealmeen rented a flat in Rutland Avenue with the ‘sole purpose’ of building the bomb.
Police found Al Swealmeen rented a flat with the ‘sole purpose’ of building the bomb
Officers discovered mixing bowls and bags of explosive mixture inside the flat, along with a mobile phone containing instructions on how to make explosives.
A search of his other address, which he shared with other asylum claimants in Sutcliffe Street, uncovered two unfinished improvised firearms.
Police found contents of mobile phones belonging to Al Swealmeen had been largely erased and he took precautions to conceal his intentions.
The report said: ‘Consequently, we will never truly know why Al Swealmeen took the actions that he did that led to the explosion outside the Liverpool Women’s Hospital.’