Timeline of Saturday night bomb attack

Just after 6 p.m. on Saturday at least two gunmen hijacked a Ford Fusion pizza delivery vehicle in the Quarry Street area of the Brandywell.

Wednesday, 23rd January 2019, 2:18 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 6:40 pm

Over the next hour-and-a-half it’s believed members of the group commonly referred to as the ‘New IRA’ placed a bomb in the WCZ2167-registered car and drove it at least half-a-mile to the Derry courthouse.

CCTV footage from Cam 31, part of the city centre network, shows a sole bomber getting out of the car and escaping towards Nailor’s Row at 7.23 p.m. Three minutes later a bomb warning was phoned in to the Samaritans in the West Midlands. West Midlands Police later alerted the PSNI.

At 7.55 p.m., officers on routine patrol in Bishop Street independently spotted the car and began the process of evacuation. At 8 p.m. the official bomb warning was passed to local officers.

The car on fire outside the courthouse immediately after the explosion, as captured on CCTV cameras in the area.

In under 15 minutes hundreds of hotel guests, 150 people attending an event in the Derry Masonic Hall, and a large number of children from a church youth club were evacuated. The device, described by police as “highly unstable” detonated at 8.09 p.m. just after evacuations had completed and officers were leaving the area.

Though no injuries or widespread damage were sustained chilling video shot from Cam 31 shows a group of young people passing the lethal device at 7.39 p.m, just 30 minutes before the bomb went off.

Five people were arrested by police probing the bombing. All have since been released unconditionally.

A main line of inquiry is that the ‘New IRA’ planted the bomb. This group, which refers to itself as the ‘IRA’, grew from the merger of the ‘Real IRA’ and Republican Action Against Drugs (RAAD) in 2012. It has been blamed for a number of attempted bomb attacks and shootings in Derry.