The taxi driver who managed to escape from his car just before it burst into flames during a terrorist attack has been praised by the Prime Minister for acting with “incredible presence of mind and bravery”.
A man named locally as David Perry fled the vehicle after it exploded outside Liverpool Women’s Hospital just before 11am on Remembrance Sunday.
The passenger, who was picked up in the Rutland Avenue area of the city about 10 minutes’ drive from the hospital, detonated a homemade bomb as the car pulled in to the hospital drop-off area.
Speaking at a medical centre in east London on Monday, Boris Johnson echoed the city’s mayor Joanne Anderson in crediting Mr Perry for his conduct.
Mr Johnson said: “It does look as though the taxi driver in question did behave with incredible presence of mind and bravery.”
The male passenger of the car was declared dead at the scene, while Mr Perry received hospital treatment for his injuries and has since been discharged.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, the city’s mayor Joanne Anderson suggested that the driver had locked the doors to prevent the passenger escaping.
She said: “The taxi driver, in his heroic efforts, has managed to divert what could have been an absolutely awful disaster at the hospital.
“Our thanks go to him and our emergency services, and authorities have worked through the night to divert anything further and we’ve all been on standby and in constant contact to provide any support that’s needed.”
A friend of the driver claimed on Facebook that he had locked the man in the vehicle after apparently noticing an explosive device.
Another said Mr Perry was left with “pretty serious injuries” after taking the “brunt of the blast”.
Conservative Party chairman Oliver Dowden, when asked about the driver’s reported actions, told Sky News: “Isn’t that the case, the contrast between the cowardice of terrorism attack and the bravery of ordinary Britons up and down the country who put other people’s lives before their own.
“Clearly we’ll have to see exactly what happened, but if that is the case it is another example of true bravery and courage.”
Footage apparently from a CCTV camera on the hospital site has been shared widely on social media but not verified by the hospital or the police.
The clip shows the vehicle explode before a man gets out from the driver’s door and flees, helped by a member of the public wearing a fluorescent vest. The car then bursts into flames.