Never-before-seen footage of the Manchester IRA bombing 25 years later; ITV News Granada
Video report by Tim scott
Never-before-seen footage of the devastation caused by the Manchester IRA bombing has emerged.
It has been 25 years since two IRA members planted the biggest bomb on mainland Britain since WWII targeting shoppers on a sunny Saturday before Father’s Day on June 15, 1996.
The explosion tore the heart of the city center but despite extensive damage and a remarkable evacuation, no one was killed. 200 people were injured and some were traumatized by the attack.
It was a sunny Saturday before Father’s Day and the Arndale Center was packed with clients. Football fans were also in town for the next day’s Russia-Germany game at nearby Old Trafford.
Just before 10:00 BST, Gary Hall, a security guard at ITV Studios in Granada, received a phone call from a man with a “very calm” Irish voice. The man said he planted a bomb that would explode an hour later.
Soon after, the police began to evacuate around 80,000 people from the city center, while attempts were made to find the bomb.
Amid the panic, a policeman spotted the white truck and noticed wires coming out of the dashboard.
Bomb disposal officers attempted to defuse the explosive with a remote control robot.
The attempt was unsuccessful and at 11:17 BST the 3,300-pound aircraft exploded. Smoke spread over the city as buildings shook and glass shattered, raining debris on people outside the cordoned off area.
The irony is that the explosion is now often seen as the kick-off for the city’s regeneration.
Plans to regenerate Manchester were already in place – a tram network had been reintroduced earlier in the 1990s and the city had already won the bid to host the 2002 Commonwealth Games.
No one has ever been charged with the explosion, although Greater Manchester Police have always insisted the case remains open.
A symbol of the city’s effort to get back on its feet was the fact that it still managed to stage the Euro 96 game the day after the attack.
Detective Chief Superintendent Dominic Scally, Chief of the North West Counterterrorism Police, said:
“The 1996 Manchester bombing, claimed by the IRA, caused massive devastation in the city of Manchester. It injured over 250 people and many more are traumatized and is believed to have caused over £ 700million in damage The bomb contained in a truck and parked on Corporation Street was so large that the architecture of downtown has changed physically forever.
“We said at the 20th anniversary that previous reviews had taken place and that the case remained open. Indeed, since the 20th anniversary, we have further examined the available evidence and examined any new line of forensic investigation. This has provided news, although limited investigative opportunities and while it would not be appropriate for us to comment further at this time, we remain absolutely committed to seeking prosecution if sufficient evidence becomes available.
“Despite the passage of time, I know this anniversary will bring back painful memories for all who have been touched by the devastating events of that day, and our thoughts remain with you at this time. We have recently been in contact with two of the support groups for those injured and affected by the attack and if anyone would like to get in touch with these organizations, their contact details are available below.
“I want to make it clear that if sufficient evidence is found in this or any other examination, it will be provided to the Crown Prosecution Service to determine if the charges are appropriate. This despite the passage of time.”