20 March 1993
|Target||a gasworks (First Attack) and Bridge Street, Warrington (Second Attack)|
The Warrington bombings took place in Warrington, England in 1993. The first attack, on a gasworks, created a huge fireball but no fatalities, but a police officer was shot and injured after stopping a van connected to the attacks. The second attack on Bridge Street killed two children and injured many other people. The attacks were conducted by the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA).
The first attack took place on 26 February 1993. Three devices exploded at the gasworks causing extensive damage. A police officer, PC Mark Toker, was shot and injured after stopping a van connected to the attacks, and a car was hijacked.
At 11:58am on 20 March 1993, the telephone help charity The Samaritans received a coded message that a bomb was going to be detonated outside the Boots shop in Liverpool, fifteen miles away from Warrington. Merseyside Police investigated, and also warned the Cheshire Constabulary (who patrolled Warrington) of the threat, but it was too late to evacuate. At 12:12pm two bombs exploded, one outside Boots on Bridge Street and one outside the Argos catalogue store. It later turned out that the bombs had been placed inside cast-iron litter bins, causing large amounts of shrapnel.
Buses were organised to ferry people away from the scene and 20 paramedics and crews from 17 ambulances were sent to deal with the aftermath.
Eyewitnesses of the time said that "the first explosion drove panicking shoppers into the path of the next blast just seconds later."
There were two fatalities from the blast.
Three-year-old Johnathan Ball died at the scene, accompanied by his babysitter, who survived.
The second victim, 12-year-old Tim Parry, survived the impact with multiple injuries, but died on 25 March 1993 when doctors switched his life support machine off, having asked permission to do so from his family after a series of tests had found minimal brain activity.
54 other people were injured, four of them seriously.