As J7 mentioned in our submissions to the inquest, two people; Aneta Dybek-Echtermeyer (previously referred to by the media, and consequently J7, as 'Anita Dybek') and Lisa French both claimed to have seen Hussain in London on July 7th 2005, when giving evidence at the first '7/7 helpers trial', on the No.91 and No.30 buses respectively.
In the opening week of the Tavistock Square evidence at the 7/7 Inquests, Aneta Dybek-Echtermeyer was questioned by Hugo Keith QC regarding the man she saw on the No.91 bus:
A. Yes, in particular I remember this Asian-looking, tall guy with the big backpack, which was then found as this bomber.
Q. Can I ask you, please, what was it about him, if anything, that made you notice him? Presumably the bus was quite crowded.
A. Yes, exactly. We boarded the bus and he stands at the entrance of the first pole with his big backpack, and he didn't let people in, really, and then he started moving
sides, nervously, with his backpack and this bad manner really made me look at him.
Q. Was it obvious to you that, because he was moving around with his big rucksack, that other people around him were being inconvenienced and were also aware of him?
A. Yes. Well, I don't think he was aware of that. People were already passed on the bus and, you know, someone punching them all the time with the backpack, that was really bad manner. Everyone was in a hurry to work or whatever, and we're already inconvenienced because we couldn't take a Tube and so on. Everyone was nervous.
Q. Can you recall anything about the clothes that he was wearing?
A. Well, he was wearing jeans and I think it was a blue, light T-shirt, definitely light in colour, and then he had a jumper with a zip and a hood, a dark colour, dark blue.
Q. So he had a shirt, a T-shirt and, over the top of that, there was a jacket of some kind with a zip and a hood?
Q. Do you recall whether he was wearing glasses of any kind?
A. Yes, he did have the glasses, like small -- like, looking a bit like techno kind of style, reflecting glasses as well, black reflecting glasses.
Q. You've referred to the rucksack as being quite big.
A. It was big and heavy -- sorry?
Q. Please continue, yes.
A. Yes, it looked very heavy and very properly packed, like full. I think around 60 litres, and, like, he -- and it had to be heavy, because he had a strap on, so that -- to carry the whole thing. Also, he, himself, looked very exhausted and he had sweating going on his chin, and that was also horrible to look at.
Q. In your statement that you gave to the police very kindly after 7 July, you actually recorded how you could see sweat dripping down his face.
Q. Was there anything about him that made you think that he was nervous or agitated or was it just, as it seemed to you, the physical exertion of carrying this rucksack?
A. I think -- well, the first thing was that he was coming out of the -- some afterparty or something, because of the sweating and his dry lips and this -- it was white flakes on the lips. Then, because of the rucksack, I thought, "Well, he wouldn't go to the party with the proper backpack", you know. He looked very exhausted to me, like nervous and exhausted.
Q. What was it about him that made you first notice him amongst all the other many passengers who were on the bus?
A. Well, the bus was quite crowded and the man in question was -- well, first of all, taller than most people, he was almost right beside me, and had a very large or very full sort of quite new backpack, or rucksack, with which, as he was sort of turning and looking about, was bumping an elderly -- a small, elderly woman stood beside me.
Q. How did you know or think that it might have been a new rucksack?
A. It was quite -- I mean, I remember it being quite sort of -- well, relatively new, let's say in the last few years, not a sort of old, tarnished rucksack, but quite new sort of camping gear that you would find in a ...
Q. Quite pristine. When you say it was full or large, was that because of the length of the rucksack in terms of the distance from the top to the bottom or because it was sticking out from the man's back and had been filled fully?
Q. Did it appear, because of the rucksack, that other passengers on the bus were aware of him and perhaps inconvenienced by him?
A. Certainly. I mean, the main reason he stayed in my memory, as it were, is because someone actually tapped him on the shoulder, a woman, who I described in my statement as having -- a woman in her 20s, I think, with dark hair, who tapped him on the shoulder and actually politely asked him to be careful because he was hitting this elderly woman as well as, perhaps, other passengers -- I can't recall -- with his rucksack, and he simply didn't react at all.
Q. Was there anything about his demeanour, his appearance that was unusual? I mean, were you surprised that there was no response at all from him? Did he look nervous or agitated in any way?
A. Yes, I mean, at the time, I simply -- I thought he was a lost and anxious tourist, and perhaps a foreigner, but I certainly remember noting that he was behaving very
oddly, otherwise I wouldn't have remembered him.
Q. Indeed. Is there anything more about his description that you can help us with in terms of his complexion or accessories? Was he wearing glasses?
A. I mean, trying to recall it now is difficult, but at the time and, again, looking back at the witness statement, he did have sunglasses. I noted that I couldn't recall whether he was wearing the sunglasses or whether they were on his head. He had a dark complexion. He had gel in his hair and, as well as the sort of backpack thing I describe, he had a similar sort of jacket in a similar style, a kind of camping jacket that one would wear, outdoor kind of Gore-Tex or something like that.
His presence in London that morning seems in little doubt; there is plenty of CCTV footage of him around the King's Cross area. What is far less certain is whether he boarded the No.30, -the bus he is, of course, accused of bombing. There is, as we know, no CCTV of the bus and any CCTV of the bus stand at Euston has not been made public. Further, the testimony of several No.30 bus passengers is not a fraction as clear cut as it first may appear when examined more closely.
Q. Whilst you were speaking to the driver, do you recall somebody pushing past you behind you to get on to the bus?
A. As I was boarding the bus and just about to get on the doors, I was aware that not only were there people boarding the bus sort of from the bus stop but there were also a few people walking up the road of the station sort of from where we would exit the station towards the bus, and I think they were the people who then boarded the bus after me but entered the bus before me because I was stood talking to the driver. And the first couple of people sort of -- I had my laptop case in my right hand sort of towards the space where people would pass, and a couple of them knocked my bag or knocked my shoulder. But then the person with the big -- the man with the big backpack, he actually took his backpack off his shoulder and held it like I was holding my laptop to squeeze past, and that's the reason I really noticed him because I can remember thinking, "Oh, there's one polite person left boarding this bus today".
Q. I ask -- and the fault may not be yours at all; it may just be the way in which your statement was taken -- but your statement said you caught a glimpse of the bag on his back?
A. At the top of the stairs he put it back on his shoulder again.
Q. Did you see him do that?
A. I think sort of as I turned the top corner of the stairs and climbed the last two or three stairs, he was at the top -- then on the middle of the bus, up the stairs, just putting it back on one shoulder of his back.
Q. Can you help us with your impression -- and I appreciate it's a very long time ago -- of the rucksack and whether or not it appeared to you to be very bulky, very heavy, very large, did it stick out a lot? Was it long in terms of the distance from the neck to the bottom of the bag?
A. It was quite large, but at the time I thought it was probably a laptop rucksack, and I do have a little bit of a habit of checking out people's laptop bags carrying one myself. So at the time I thought it was just a big laptop rucksack that you could get plenty of other bits and pieces in, really. But it was quite large, sort of square, so I think that's why I thought it was a laptop bag rather than a camping rucksack because it was still quite square for being a rucksack.
The statement of Prevshan Vijendran, a man of Sri Lankan origin who was unwilling to give evidence in person due to continuing trauma, was read on the afternoon of January 17th. Mr. Vijendran included a description of his appearance on the morning of July 7th 2005:
On this particular day, I was wearing a light-blue, short-sleeved shirt, short, blue denim jacket, black trousers, black shoes and black socks. I was carrying a navy blue and black shoulder bag.
As well as describing the rucksack thus, "it looked very heavy and very properly packed, like full. I think around 60 litres", Aneta Dybek-Echtermeyer additionally noted a short while later, in response to a question by Gareth Patterson for Lovells LLP, that the rucksack was, in fact, so heavy that the man needed the waist strap fastened to support the weight of it. Paul Rekret, too, observed above that the man was carrying "a very large or very full sort of quite new backpack, or rucksack".
Yet Lisa French characterised the bag she saw as "a laptop bag rather than a camping rucksack because it was still quite square for being a rucksack." and as we also see above, stated that the bag was being carried "on one shoulder". However, this bag is not at any point compared to the "shoulder bag" Prevshan Vijendran, who boarded the No.30 bus at the same stop as Ms. French, says he was carrying.
Taxi Driver Scott Kelman's read statement describes Prevshan as a young man, which further confuses the identification with Hussain who was just 18 at the time:
"Someone asked me to go over to a male who needed help. I went over to a guy who looked Asian or Iraqi. He was about 22 years' old and looked about 5' 10" but he was lying down. He told me his name was Prav
Additionally, in relation to the bomber, Hasib Hussain, I remember, having been discharged from hospital, I saw TV pictures of Hasib Hussain which now lead me to believe that I saw this man on the bus.......
Mia Scott-Bradshaw's testimony:I would describe him as an Asian male of Indian or Pakistani origin, aged in his 20s, reasonably tall and of an athletic build. He had swept-back, dark hair which appeared to be gelled. I think he was cleanshaven, possibly with designer stubble, although I cannot be sure. I think he was wearing a short, dark, bomber-style jacket and a dark, possibly striped, shirt.The male looked quite smart as if he cared about his appearance. I think this male was carrying what I recall is a shoulder bag on one of his shoulders, but I cannot recall which shoulder. I would describe thebag as a normal commuter-sized shoulder bag and I cannot recall the colour.
Q. Just staying looking at the plan, we see sitting not quite opposite you on the back seat, but facing up the aisle, there's someone there numbered number 60. Do you see that?
Q. You refer in your witness statement to an Indian gentleman and I think you describe him as sitting in that position.
A. Yes, I wasn't sure if he was Indian, I just remember he had darker skin.
Q. Can you tell us what you remember about him now?
A. I remember he was dressed in -- I think it was a blue -- a dark-blue, canvas jacket and he was looking out the window like myself. I don't know what else you want to know. I don't know what else to say.
Q. Let me ask you this: you say a blue, canvas jacket, do you mean a blazer-type jacket or do you mean a coat-type jacket?
A. A coat-type jacket, yes.
Q. You say in your witness statement that he had matching blue trousers.
A. Yes, I think it was a canvas material, I think.
Q. Can you remember whether he was carrying a bag of any sort?
A. I think he had -- I think he did have a bag, I think he had a rucksack, I think. I'm sorry, I can't ...
Q. Do you remember -- tell us as soon as you can't help us any further, Ms Scott, but can you remember, if you do have a memory of a rucksack, whether it was a small --
a sort of handheld-type rucksack or a very large, camping rucksack?
A. No, it was a -- in my mind, I've got a small one, small.
Q. If this person had had one of those large, camping rucksacks, sort of almost as high as one's waist when placed on the ground, is that the sort of thing that you would have remembered, given how close he was sitting to you?
Q. You're quite sure he didn't have a rucksack of that nature?
A. No, he didn't have anything that big, no.
Did Lisa French, Gary O'Monaghan and Mia Scott-Bradshaw see Hasib Hussain or Prevshan Vijendran? Did Prevshan Vijendran, who would have been ideally placed to do so, either pass Hasib Hussain in seat 53 as he made his way to the very back of the bus or see Hasib Hussain walking down the centre aisle directly towards him and take seat 53? Does he remember passing Lisa French as she spoke to the bus driver?