3 Mar 2011

July 7 witness: John Taylor

John Taylor speaks to Channel 4 News about meeting the man who cradled his dying daughter after the Aldgate tube blast, and says the inquest has helped close a chapter in his life.

John Taylor daughter Carrie was making her regular journey to work at the Royal Society of Arts on the morning of July 7 2005.

She regularly commuted with her mother June who described seeing her daughter for the last time as they parted at Liverpool Street Station. A CCTV image later released (pictured below) showed mother and daughter together on the platform in Essex as they started their journey.

Moments later 24-year-old Carrie was fatally injured on a Circle Line tube train near Aldgate station after Shehzad Tanweer, 22, detonated his bomb.

A total of seven people died in the blast and a number of others were left severely wounded.

Minutes after the blast Steven Desborough, who had been travelling on the same train, boarded the bombed carriage to see if he could help any survivors of the blast.

Carrie Taylor CCTV

He told Channel 4 News that amongst the “carnage” he saw Carrie and cradled her in his arms while trying to comfort her. Carrie later died of her injuries. Click here for Steven Desborough’s interview in full.

Five and a half years after the London bombings, Carrie’s father told Channel 4 News it comforted the family to know Carrie was not alone in her final moments.

The July 7 inquests, he said, played a crucial role in his grieving process and it meant he and his wife could meet Steven face-to-face for the first time.

“It was very significant for us to meet Steven,” Mr Taylor told Channel 4 News.

“On that day it was very difficult, but it was also a privilege to meet him because he was there when Carrie really needed somebody. It gives a little bit of comfort to know that somebody was there with Carrie, that she wasn’t left alone.

Click here to return to the London bombings Special Report and hear from the July 7 witnesses

“We can’t imagine what happened that day, we weren’t there and some of the things that they had to deal with was quite horrendous.”

“Steven could have walked away – he wasn’t actually in the carriage with Carrie. He made a conscious decision to stop and help somebody out. That’s a great sense of humanity as far as I’m concerned.”

Carrie Taylor

Finding the truth

The Taylors met Steven Desborough in person for the first time in October where they were called to the inquest into the events of the London bombings.

“We had tears in our eyes when we met one another,” Mr Taylor said. “There was a mutual, bonding feeling that he was there with our daughter at the very end.

“The only people that understand how you feel are the other family members and the people that were down there that went through it on that day. To be able to talk to each other and try to exchange information is our way of dealing with what happened.”

Mr Taylor, who represented himself during the inquests and cross examined witnesses, said the hearings had been a “fact-finding exercise” for his family.

John Taylor

“After the events we made a promise to Carrie that we would do all we could to find out what happened, and this was a way of finding out and giving our promise back to Carrie,” he said.

“We’ve always had a general idea of what happened and what went on, but to actually speak to somebody who was there on that day you can actually get specific information from them.

“Steven stayed as long as he possibly could…To do that sort of thing is fabulous, absolutely fabulous.”

Mr Taylor added that the inquests had meant “closure for a chapter in our life”.

“There will always be other chapters to come. We think about Carrie everyday – of course you do, you can’t get away from it.

“Every time you open a newspaper on turn the television on there’s usually something about terrorism or wars in far-off places – we’ll never be able to get away from this.

“But this will close that chapter on this part of our life. Carrie will never be forgotten in our minds, we know that.”

John Mather Saba Mozakka Veronica Cassidy John Taylor Steven Desborough Thelma Stober