Emad Al Swealmeen, 32, died shortly before 11am on Remembrance Sunday last month when a bomb he was carrying partially blew up in the back of a taxi outside Liverpool Women’s Hospital. The Iraqi-born terrorist had constructed the homemade bomb with “murderous intent”, a coroner at Liverpool and Wirral coroner’s court said today. Al Swealmeen had also failed in an asylum application after claiming to have converted to Christianity.
The inquest heard how he came to the country illegally in May 2014 with a Jordanian passport and UK visa.
Senior coroner André Rebello said: “Shortly after his arrival he claimed, it is believed falsely, that he was of Syrian heritage and claimed asylum as a refugee from that country.”
He added that claim and all subsequent claims for asylum had been refused, with the latest refusal in November 2020.
Mr Rebello also spoke about reports Al Swealmeen had rejected Islam and converted to Christianity.
During the inquest, the senior coroner asked Detective Chief Inspector Andrew Meeks, the senior investigating officer in the case, if this could be to strengthen his asylum claim.
DCI Meeks replied: “I’d agree with that because he would claim he’d be liable to persecution on return to Syria or Iraq.”
Mr Rebello added: “When premises were searched both a Holy Quran and prayer mat were present and it was fairly evident that he carried out the religious duties of someone who is a follower of Islam, notwithstanding the reported conversion to Christianity.”
David Perry, the driver of the taxi carrying Al Swealmeen, survived the blast, which was captured on the hospital’s CCTV.
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The device detonated just before 11am on Remembrance Sunday and just a short distance from a nearby church attended be several hundred people at Liverpool Cathedral, where Al Swealmeen converted.
DCI Meeks confirmed during the inquest there is no evidence to suggest anyone else had been involved in he procurement of materials or construction of the device, but investigations were continuing.
The inquest was also told items recovered from one of two addresses used by the attacker were likely to have been self-manufactured and intended to be components of improvised firearms.
Additional investigations found several purchases were made between March 2020 and November 2021 of materials that could have been used to manufacture improvised firearms or homemade explosives.
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Senior coroner Mr Rebello said: “On November 14, 2021, Emad Jamil Salman Al Swealmeen died in a taxi in front of Liverpool Women’s Hospital.
“He died from an explosion and subsequent fire caused by an improvised explosive device which he had carried into the taxi.
“It is found he manufactured the improvised explosive device, designed to project shrapnel, with murderous intent.”
He added: “It remains unclear as to whether he intended the device to detonate when it did.”
The inquest also heard the explosive device was made at a flat Al Swealmeen rented in Rutland Avenue and that he phoned his brother in the UK 48 before, suggesting he might do “something bad”.
Mr Rebello said: “[His brother] says towards the end of call Emad said something like, ‘If I do something bad that will affect the family. What do you think?’
“He replied something like, ‘Don’t do s**t’, advising him as an older brother, although this was something which caused him concern, knowing his previous issues.”
The senior coroner said Al Swealmeen, who was born in Baghdad, had been in prison in the Middle East for a serious assault on another person, as well as being in trouble in Liverpool for possession of an offensive weapon.