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Nail Bomber: Manhunt: Netflix Announces True Crime Doc On 1999 London Nail Bombings

Gregory Robinson

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Nail Bomber: Manhunt: Netflix Announces True Crime Doc On 1999 London Nail Bombings

Featured Image Credit: PA

Netflix has announced a chilling new documentary on the 1999 London nail bombings.

Nail Bomber: Manhunt will explore the attacks crimes committed by one man who terrorised the capital for almost two weeks 22 years ago.

The deadly bombings took place across three different locations across the city over three successive weekends between 17th and 30th April 1999.


Each bomb had up to 1,500 4-inch nails and they were disguised in holdalls in public spaces in Brixton, south London, Brick Lane, Spitalfields in the East End and at The Admiral Duncan pub in Soho in the West End.

London's black, Bengali and LGBT communities were the targets of the bombings, which led to three deaths including Andrea Dykes, 27 who was four months pregnant with her first child and her friends Nick Moore, 31 and John Light, 32. There were 140 injured civilians.

The bombings terrorised the streets of London in April 1999 (Credit: PA)
The bombings terrorised the streets of London in April 1999 (Credit: PA)

Hoping to start a race war, the official description reveals: "He [Copeland] inspired ordinary people to come together, stand up and take action, helping to catch him and ultimately bring him to justice."

Copeland was convicted of murder in 2000 and given six life sentences. The judge doubted that it would ever be safe to release Copeland.

In March 2007, the High Court ruled that Copeland should remain in prison for at least fifty years, ruling out any possible release until 2049 at the earliest when he would be aged 73. Copeland later appealed this but the ruling was upheld.

It will also feature a linear recounting of the three terror attacks and exclusive interviews with investigators, undercover informants, survivors and community leaders who were affected by the bombings and re-enacted conversations between Copeland and investigators after he was caught.

The documentary will also include accounts from members of the public who experienced the chaos and destruction during the wave of accounts.

The bombings injured 140 people and killed three (Credit: Netflix)
The bombings injured 140 people and killed three (Credit: Netflix)

Nail Bomber: Manhunt will explore how Copeland was caught and brought to justice. The gripping documentary is directed by Daniel Vernon, with Colin Barr and Robin Ockleford serving as the producers.

Executive producer Colin Barr explained why 'now' is the right time for the documentary to Tyla: "It feels like now's the time to make it because we're under more threat than we've ever been from those sorts of forces. In many respects the things that made Copeland back then are even more pervasive now.

"When Copeland was doing these things, the internet existed but nothing like the way it exists today, there was nothing like the proliferation of far right groups like you have today. So it feels like there's a message conveyed with this film that is more needed today than it's ever been."

On the day of the attack, Colin was due to go out with friends at the Three Greyhounds pub on Old Compton Street close to the Admiral Duncan pub. "We met up in west London and then we heard the first reports that there had been an attack and I remember how shaken my friends had been particularly because at that point everyone was waiting with baited breath for when the next attack would occur and after Brick Lane we knew there was probably going to be another one."

Director Daniel Vernon said they were drawn to the story because Copeland was not a one-off and drew comparisons Darren Osborne, who drove a van into a London mosque, and Thomas Mair, the man who murdered Jo Cox. "It was deliberately, I think, presented as a problem that would go away 'it was a one-off', 'he was a nutter', 'he was racist yes but there are a lot of racists that don't build bombs'. He was put into a box and tucked away and I think that's what interested us as a story because clearly he wasn't a one-off."

An unnamed child survived after a nail embedded in his brain after the Brixton bombing (Credit: Netflix)
An unnamed child survived after a nail embedded in his brain after the Brixton bombing (Credit: Netflix)

Although the documentary speaks to several witnesses and victims from the three attacks, for some talking about the experience was still too raw. "There's lot of people out there who are still completely broken by the experience," Daniel explains. "There's a lot of people out there who just don't want to go there because they are still living with the trauma of it. Certainly the people who were caught up in the Admiral Duncan. A lot of them just didn't want to go there and the parents of Andrea Dykes are still shattered by it."

Daniel also says that the filmmakers wanted to know what happened to the child who survived after a nail embedded in his head from one of Copeland's bombs. "We were all intrigued cause that child would be in his mid-20s now. I really wanted to meet him and his mother but we were never able to trace him.

"We didn't go to the extent of going to hospital to find out - but they would never give away that kind of information anyway. You do wonder how traumatising that must of been for him and his mum."

Nail Bomber: Manhunt premieres 26th May on Netflix.

Topics: TV and Film, True Crime, Netflix

Gregory Robinson
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