Wednesday, 26 January 2011

The notable absence of Hasib Hussain

Until last week Richard Jones was arguably the most famous witness to the presence of a man who wasn't Hasib Hussain on the No.30 bus in Tavistock Square. However, the past fortnight of the Inquests has elicited several more sightings which are worthy of further analysis.

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?
A. Yes.
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.
A. Yes.
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.

Another passenger on the No.91 bus, Paul Rekret, also remembers seeing a man fitting the description of Hussain and gave a very similar account:

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?
A. Both.
Q. Both?
A. Yes.
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.
Source: Transcripts 12th January 2011 pm page 2 line 3 on
Along with their corresponding descriptions, both Aneta Dybek-Echtermeyer and Paul Rekret note the nervous disposition of the man they saw on the No.91 bus - which although possibly significant under other circumstances, pales a little when noting Aneta Dybek-Echtermeyer's observation above, "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".

It has never been stated, nor shown, that any CCTV of Hasib Hussain exists on the No.91 bus, which would of course, have been useful to see. However, on the basis of these accounts, it isn't without the bounds of reason to conclude that Hasib Hussain may well have boarded that bus, in spite of Aneta Dybek-Echtermeyer's adding of an extra garment to Hussain's top half that is not evident on any CCTV footage of him that morning.

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.

The evidence of Lisa French is particularly interesting, since - as J7 noted in our Submission to the Inquest - Ms. French appeared to have made a giant leap from a previous sighting simply of a man with a rucksack who passed her as she boarded the No.30 bus to a positive identification of Hasib Hussain when she gave evidence in 2008. Ms. French appears less certain of the man's identity when testifying to the Inquests. Moreover, she describes a man displaying none of the "bad manner" noted by Aneta Dybek-Echtermeyer of the No.91 bus passenger:
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".

Lisa goes on, after prompting from Hugo Keith QC, to describe in more detail the bag carried by the man. Note how Mr. Keith continues to place the bag on the man's back, despite Lisa French repeatedly saying the man was carrying it on one shoulder:

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.

Lisa French remembers the man who passed her, preceding her up the stairs to the top deck, then walking towards the "very back row" of the bus. Indeed, analogous accounts have been given by two other No.30 passengers; Gary O'Monaghan also remembers seeing a man he believes to be Hasib Hussain "walking past me on the bus towards the rear of the bus". Mia Scott-Bradshaw (previously referred to by the media, and consequently by J7, as Camille Scott) recalls a man with "darker skin" seated at the rear of the No.30. In short, a man looking similar to Hasib Hussain, in the location that Hasib Hussain was alleged to be. So far, so 'alleged bomber in his alleged location'.

However, one glaring factor which has been inexplicably glossed over by the Inquests is the presence of a passenger on the No.30 bus who was similar to Hussain in skin colour, who was wearing similar clothing, carrying a large bag and was sitting at the rear of the top deck.

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.
Mr. Vijendran places himself at the very rear of the bus, in seat 60, as indeed does the Inquest evidence:
In light of Mr. Vijendran's position on the bus, let us consider in more detail the testimony given by Lisa French, Gary O'Monaghan and Mia Scott-Bradshaw. We have already seen that Lisa French's description of the man who passed her on the No.30 bus is firstly in stark contrast to those given by No. 91 passengers Aneta Dybek-Echtermeyer and Paul Rekret, both in terms of the actions and temperament of the man and also the bag he was carrying.

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

Furthermore, the physical descriptions given by the other No.30 passengers correspond less with the CCTV we have seen of Hasib Hussain and more with the personal testimony of Prevshan Vijendran. Gary O'Monaghan stated:
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.......
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 the
bag as a normal commuter-sized shoulder bag and I cannot recall the colour.

Mia Scott-Bradshaw's testimony:
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?
A. Yes.
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?
A. Yes.
Q. You're quite sure he didn't have a rucksack of that nature?
A. No, he didn't have anything that big, no.

Aneta Dybek-Echtermeyer described 'Hussain's' rucksack as a 'dark blue/grey colour'

Someone less eager to believe that any male of Asian appearance carrying a bag at the rear of the top deck of the No.30 bus was probably Hasib Hussain in order to fit in with an existing narrative, may well express astonishment at these descriptions being used as a method by which to demonstrate the presence of Hasib Hussain. Mia Scott-Bradshaw even places the man she saw in the very seat in which Prevshan Vijendran was sitting - two rows back from the aisle seat 53 in which Hasib Hussain has been placed in the graphic above - and further questioning by Gareth Patterson establishes that the man in question was nothing like the height and size of Hasib Hussain, and that in addition, she remembers seeing neither Hasib Hussain nor anybody else in seat 53. Yet, incredibly, it is not at any point put to her, or concluded as one might reasonably expect, that Mr. Vijendran was far more likely than not to have been the man she remembers seeing.

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?

The only other involved person, Scott Kelman, the driver of the passing taxi, who had personal contact with Mr. Vijendran, and could recognise him, also declined to appear at the Inquests in person. Given that Mr. Vijendran's statement will not be scrutinised by the Inquest counsel, it is doubtful that we shall ever know for sure.


  1. I notice how London ITN news made a great deal of Ms French following the bomber up the stairs of the bus but failed to mention that she had been unable to give a good description of him. Similarly they announced that Emma Plunkett had been sitting across the aisle from the bomber, but failed to mention that when asked whether she had seen a tall asian man with a large rucksack, she had said, 'No'. I sense the MSM is attempting to deceive the public.

  2. The big question is the torso which many of the witnesses keep describing at the scene immediately after the explosion.

    Transcripts 24th Jan AM , p36
    12 Q. I'm pressing you on this because it's quite important to
    13 one of the families that I represent, because we know,
    14 when you come outside, as you've described, you see
    15 a torso just outside the door, which we believe to be
    16 the torso of the bomber Hasib Hussain.
    17 A family whom I represent, their daughter was
    18 covered, we believe, at the same time as the torso of
    19 Hasib Hussain and they want to establish how long it was
    20 before her body was covered and there's some confusion
    21 about the timing

    If this body (which the questioning generally ignores even though every detail of the other victims is pursued) really was Hasib Hussain then the whole question of sightings and eyewitness evidence about whether he was on the bus becomes irrelevant (It wouldn't prove he was a suicide bomber of course, but it would prove he was on the bus) But if it wasn't Hussain , then we need to know who it was and why that person's identity is not being established

  3. I'm not sure the fact that, thus far, not one positive sighting of Hussain on the bus as an intact, breathing person is superseded by the testimonies given today. As the first commenter above points out, at least two of the passengers at the rear (Emma Plunkett, along with Camille Scott) did not see anyone in the seat in which Hasib Hussain is alleged to have sat, yet there was a very strange issue raised today regarding the position of Hussain at the time of the explosion:

    "The nature and distribution of the injuries would indicate an explosive discharge in front of and below the individual. The symmetrical nature of the upper limb injuries might suggest that the explosive material was being held or that the individual was bending over the material at the time of the discharge."
    -- Transcripts 26th January pm P56

    Yet nobody noticed that? In my experience of bus seats, there is barely enough room to cross one's legs against the seat in front, let alone have a rucksack the size he was carrying in front of the legs and be bent right over it. The alternative, that the explosive was being held, is that it was on his lap, but again, would this not have been a really conspicuous sight, by the sheer size of the rucksack as much as his bodily positioning?

  4. Is it possible that those whom claimed to have seen HH on the bus are merely recalling the image they've seen of him in the media after the fact?

    That is to say, their recollection of him is a false memory, planted by the media itself.

  5. It certainly is possible. In fact, Danny Biddle has recounted making the connection between seeing 'the bomber' and Khan after seeing Khan's picture on television news alongside the words "Edgware Road bomber".

    It wasn't until seven weeks after the blast that Danny discovered he had been at the heart of Britain's worst terror outrage.

    He said: 'I was still in intensive care when I found out what had happened. I asked my dad if it had made the news. I didn't know if it was an isolated event. When he told me, it all just fell into place but I still couldn't make sense of the fact it was a deliberate act.

    'It was only days later, when I was put on a normal ward, that the enormity and the savagery of what happened hit me. It's just the sheer evil. It's murder and attempted murder. Not many times in your life do you come face to face with evil. I can't imagine it gets much worse than what he did.'

    It would be another three weeks before Danny realised the identity of the calm young Asian he had stood next to that day in the Tube.

    He said: 'I was on the ward and woke up at 4am. I don't sleep well because of flashbacks and nightmares. I put the TV on and BBC news were playing the video Al Jazeera had shown of Khan. I didn't have the sound on and kept thinking, "I'm sure I know him from somewhere."

    'Then the words flashed up: "Edgware Road bomber". It just clicked in my mind that we'd looked at each other on the train. I just punched out at the TV. I couldn't believe it.

    'I have a hatred of Khan and the other three bombers. Some people try to twist that and say I hate Muslims. That's not true. I just hate Khan for what he's done.'

  6. As Ms Gallagher said in her question to Colonel Mahoney who examined witness statements to place the victims:
    14 Q. There's a number of further difficulties with the
    15 witness statements and, indeed, with the oral evidence
    16 which haven't been referred to.
    17 Obviously, with oral evidence, there's the passage
    18 of time. We've witnesses recalling events five years
    19 ago. Many of the witnesses we've heard from over the
    20 past four months have been distressed or confused, where
    21 they've blurred their memories of what occurred with
    22 subsequent extensive press coverage, so quite often
    23 they've come to believe that someone they were dealing
    24 with must have been a particular person they've seen in
    25 photographs and, in fact, the evidence shows that must


    1 be wrong.
    2 There are also conflicts in the witness evidence.
    3 Very difficult for you to work on that when you haven't
    4 heard from the witnesses and, necessarily, that would be
    5 an imprecise science.

  7. Gary O'Monaghan, as quoted above:

    "I saw TV pictures of Hasib Hussain which now lead me to believe that I saw this man on the bus......."

  8. Why was MSK texting HH on the morning of the 7/7 at 07.28.33, when according to the official narrative they were together in the car park of Luton Railway Station? Also, if they were together, why are they listed as being at different cell sites? (MSK - Luton Town, HH - Luton Airport). What was the content of this text?

  9. According to the transcripts of DS Stuart's testimony on 14/10/10 am:

    23 station, but then we have at 7.28 a text message.
    24 Now, I think it was perhaps inadvertently referred
    25 to a moment or two ago by Mr Keith as 7.26, but that


    1 text is 7.28.33, isn't it?
    2 A. Yes, sir.
    3 Q. Again, from the CCTV material we know that at 7.26 the
    4 four bombers left the railway station on the train bound
    5 to London and so that would appear to suggest, would it
    6 not, that Khan had to send a text message to Hussain at
    7 7.28.33 seconds?
    8 A. Yes, sir.
    9 Q. Which might suggest that the two men weren't together at
    10 that time?
    11 A. At that immediate time, possibly, or they weren't able
    12 to communicate otherwise, yes.
    13 Q. In terms of cell site evidence, what we know about that
    14 text message is that Khan was cell-sited to Luton town
    15 but that Hussain was cell-sited slightly to the south,
    16 was he not, at a mast at Luton airport LU2 being the
    17 postcode?
    18 A. Yes, sir.
    19 Q. So that again would suggest that they were on the train
    20 perhaps at the time that they -- that that text message
    21 was sent?
    22 A. Yes, sir.
    23 MR PATTERSON: Thank you. I have no more questions.
    24 LADY JUSTICE HALLETT: So the purport of those questions,
    25 Mr Patterson, was what? To establish that they might


    1 have been in different carriages?
    2 MR PATTERSON: Possibly, yes.

  10. I thought that the police had taken statements from people who has seen them on the train from Luton to Kings Cross. Surely it would have been mentioned earlier that they weren't together on the train.