Scotland Yard Used CCTV Footage to Backtrack Suicide Bombers’ Route

Footage was obtained from hundreds of cameras located in subway and railway stations, from individuals and businesses.
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Witnesses at an Oct. 14, 2010 inquest on the 2005 London suicide bombers testified how the bombers were identified from video collected from hundreds of CCTV cameras, and how the footage was used to backtrack the bombers’ route.

The first witness—an officer who is with Scotland Yard’s Anti-Terrorist Branch—detailed how the discovery of Mohammad Sidique Khan and Hasib Hussain’s drivers’ licenses at the scene of the July 7, 2005 bombings started the search of video footage. Photographs of the bombers were obtained from Britain’s motor vehicle operator registry and were checked against the CCTV footage.

The officer said he identified the four bombers—recorded by a CCTV camera located at the King’s Cross station—by the way they walked and that they were carrying rucksacks.

Detective Inspector Ewan Kindness of Scotland Yard’s Anti-Terrorist Command coordinated the CCTV search, which involved seizing and reviewing footage taken from cameras located in subway and railway stations, from individuals and businesses. There are 76 CCTV cameras alone at King’s Cross station, Kindness said. “My officer was ex-military and he saw four individuals walking two by two which he felt was significant. They were carrying large rucksacks and I concurred with him that it was a matter of priority,” he added.

“We tried to trace their movements backwards from that point,” Kindness said. The bombers were “plainly identified as coming from a Thameslink train into London that day so we checked all the railway stations through North London from Bedford and Luton,” and found they boarded a train to London from Luton, he said.

Reviewing the video footage from Luton, investigators were able to identify the terrorists’ cars, and used that information to further backtrack the route the bombers used to a fueling station on the M1 highway in Woodall, and finally to their home cities of Leeds and Aylesbury.