Inquests into deaths of London terror victims cost over £4.6m

The inquests into the deaths of the 52 victims of the July 7 suicide bombings cost more than £4.6m, official figures show.

The hearings at the Royal Courts of Justice in London resumed on October 11 2010 and continued until March last year, with Coroner Lady Justice Hallett issuing her ruling in May.

Work had begun in early 2010, however, to take submissions from family members and other interested parties on the scope of its inquiries.

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The total bill, from January 2010 to December last year, included more than £2.2m for external legal services, £685,581 for IT services, £600,000 for accommodation and £265,262 for staff, with running costs of £803,891. Overall, the costs came to £4,604,720.

Expenditure from January 1 2010 to 30 September 2010, just before the public hearings began, was more than £1.9m,

Coroner Lady Justice Hallett considered evidence from hundreds of sources, including survivors, police, fire and ambulance services as well as members of the UK’s security services before ruling that the emergency services could not have saved any of those who were unlawfully killed in the 2005 bombings on three Tube trains and a double-decker bus in the heart of London.

But she raised serious concerns about how MI5 investigates and prioritises suspects, warning that poor record-keeping could allow flawed decisions to slip through with “dire consequences”.

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She singled out MI5’s “dreadful” editing of a sharp colour photograph of 7/7 ringleader Mohammed Sidique Khan, 30, from Dewsbury, and his number two Shehzad Tanweer, 22, from Beeston, in Leeds, taken by an undercover surveillance team in February 2004 which was never shown to a supergrass being handled by the FBI who might have identified Khan because the edited version was so poor.

Lady Justice Hallett also held jurisdiction over the inquests of the four Yorkshire bombers, which had been opened and adjourned. But none of the relatives of Khan, Tanweer, Hasib Hussain, 18, from Holbeck, and Jermaine Lindsay, 19, who had grown up in Huddersfield but was living in Aylesbury at the time of the attacks, had requested a hearing in full so they were closed last May.

The attacks – which came a day after the announcement that London was to host this year’s Olympic Games in 2005 – was the worst single terrorist atrocity on UK soil.

Among the recommendations resulting from the inquest was a call for critical services in London to improve inter-agency training and communication after the hearings heard evidence of delays by some in reaching casualties, amid uncertainty as to whether the power had been switched off to Tube lines and fears of it being a chemical attack.

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